This post is from Trident athlete Kristina Thomas. It’s from her personal blog, Dawn Points. Don’t be a tough guy/gal if you’re injured!
**NOTE 1: FOR NON-DEBILITATING INJURIES ONLY**
**NOTE 2: I am not a medical professional**
So, you’ve been injured.
You’ve been sentenced to the dull realm of not-making-progress-toward-your-mission-of-combining-the-strength-of-a-grizzly-and-the-suppleness-of-a-leopard-into-one-super-human-that-happens-to-have-your-face, also known as not-CrossFitting.
To avoid spending listless afternoons in crushing un-productivity and poopy self-pity, read on. Take it from someone with 20/20 hindsight.
Step 0. ADMIT that you have an injury.
Hint: if you are swollen, bruising, and limping five days after you wiped out on a box, you probably hurt yourself. Don’t be stubborn. Stubborn is stupid.
Step 1. Figure out what it is.
Go to a doctor if you can. If you can’t, ask your friends, coaches, and budding anatomists if they’ve seen your symptoms before. Google with your best google-y concentration and persistence–don’t stop at hits from answers.yahoo.com.
Some references for after you’ve driven yourself to tears from reading about all the scary side-effects of your newly diagnosed injury on webmd:
- the excellent mobilitywod.com
- the foot-oriented sock-doc.com
- the comprehensive and controversial savingyourself.ca
Step 3. Figure out how to fix it.
Approach your injury with the attitude that it can be fixed. If the kind doctor from Step 1 told you you’ll never lift again, smile, nod, and get out of that office. Attitude is everything. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Can you tell I’ve been scouring the “inspiration quotes” tags on pinterest?
Healing is injury-specific, but Steps 4, 5, and 6 are general guidelines to getting back to being awesome
Step 4. Rest and mobilize.
Straight from the thoughts of one BAMF:
“Bourne concentrated on rest and mobility. From somewhere in his forgotten past he understood that recovery depended upon both and he applied rigid discipline to both.”
The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum, p137
How long should you rest? As long as it takes.
How much should you mobilize? Until your eyes bleed.
Okay, seriously, you should mobilize every day for at least 100 repetitions through a safe (not necessarily discomfort-free) range of motion. You want the muscle-tendon-ligament-joint complex to remember how it’s supposed to work, but it has a certain threshold beneath which it won’t retain the information. If you don’t surpass the threshold in each sitting, all you’re doing is making pretty circles in the air. Rinse and repeat.
Step 5: Eat real food.
This goes without saying. You should do this all the time. BUT it is especially important when your body is trying to heal from a traumatic injury. If you’re not getting high-quality fats and enough of them, change that (fish oil babyyyyy). Now is not the time to bury your face in a pan of paleo brownies, even if your self-pity is like Rowdy Ronda Rousey and you’re poor little Julia Budd.
Step 6: Become the happiest person alive.
I’m being serious. Don’t succumb to pain and panic. Fear and anxiety can hinder the healing process. I’m not saying this as a new-age hippy, I’m saying this as a Jedi. Okay, okay, a Padawan. Watch this.
I get it: being happy at a time like this is a Herculean task, especially if increasing your work capacity across broad time and modal domains makes you your happiest.
Here a list of get-happy strategies
- Be nice to people. Especially people you don’t like. You’ll feel good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself makes you happy.
- Work on your weaknesses. Celebrate your strengths. Physically, this means you should use your time off to build that hollow-rock position, work on that strict pullup, open up your hips and limber up your calves. Pick something that doesn’t aggravate your injury and do it. Make your weaknesses strengths and your strengths stronger. It might prove boring but, hey, you’re bored anyway.
- Go outside and sing at the top of your lungs. (Make sure nobody is around or you’re likely to face embarassment.)
- Give your puppy a hug. Repeat often.
Step 7: Get back to the box.
Everybody misses you.
Don’t stop practicing Steps 4, 5, and 6. If you’re not well enough to get back to pre-injury activities, be smart about it. Chriss will probably make you write “Hard is easy, smart is hard” on the board 20 times in your best handwriting. Write it on your heart as well. Don’t reinjure yourself.
Our coaches are the best, and they will come up with substitutions for you if you let them know what’s happening. Don’t be shy says the shy-est girl evahhh.
Step 8: Prevent injury. Move well.
Injuries happen because you’re not moving correctly. Poor mechanics indicate 1. laziness or 2. physiological inability to attain a good position. Fix it.
When Andrea tells you your knee is caving in on your squats, free your hips/ankles before you put another pound on the bar. When Matt K. tells you to land softly on the box, pretend your a kitten for a day (or however long it takes). When Jerome tells you to keep your core tight, lock it down.
And when Marcus tells you to take a rest day, take a rest day.
Listen to your body.
If you respect movement, it won’t hurt you.
It’s good to be back, Trident.