5 Ways in helping Deal with the Psychological Effects of Injuries – People deal with injuries not just as physical but mental as well.
For someone that has dealt with several injuries over my lifetime it has become common to stop all forms and training and starting again. Be that from knee reconstructions, arthroscopi’s, broken bones, or issues with tendons and ligaments.
Like many people who ensure not only the physical pain, I found myself confronting a range of emotions in addition to those physical symptoms.
I would find myself upset and angry, and then I’d feel like it was unfair because I’d done everything right regarding injury prevention such as warm ups, stretching and all the rehab necessary. Often, the mental effects of injury can be just as, if not more, difficult to manage than the physical ones.
Someone who is injured may experience everything from, questions about re-injuring, to fears about performance, never returning to pre-injury fitness levels, to disappointment.
When someone does not know how to cope, they can experience a sense of giving up, frustration and in extreme cases depression can occur.
However we can take steps to overcome the mental barriers we experience alongside an injury
We do through a range of emotions and thoughts when we become injured.
The first thing we want to do is have a sense of acceptance and think long term. It’s about being smart and not pushing through the injury in case we make it worse pro-longing our time off or rehab.
Acknowledging the problem makes it easier to develop a plan for recovery.
It’s important to accept the true extent of the injury, so an honest assessment of what it will take to get back in the gym can be made.
2. Treat Recovery Like Training
One way to deal with the frustration, annoyance or depression is to start treating the rehabilitation process just like training.
We can view rehabilitation as a form of training, rather than merely an impediment in in our fitness related goals. We should encourage ourselves to set realistic goals related to rehab and recovery to give us a sense of achievement and progress. This will help give develop a better attitude and perception of recovery.
3. Use Mental Training Skills
Studies have shown practicing “mind over muscle” techniques can help with recovery. We can use many methods such as relaxation training, mental imagery, and self-hypnosis during the recovery process. These strategies can help reduce stress and increase positive thinking.
A basic way to practice relaxation is to lie in a comfortable position and concentrate on one muscle area at a time, breathing calmly and evenly. Clench the muscle area for a few seconds, then relax the area; repeat twice before moving on to the next muscle group.
Relaxation training can be especially important because the added muscle tension and blood flow tied to stress and anxiety can hinder an athlete’s ability to recover.
4. Report Pain and Discomfort
People coming off of injuries face a new set of psychological issues as they return to regular training. Deciphering between acceptable pain and pain that should stop them from training is difficult. Many are just hyperaware of the injury and afraid of getting hurt again.
I suggest conferring with somebody who can calm your anxieties with facts. It is ideal to have an understand that being ‘tough’ and under-reporting pain could lead to further injury.
5. Embrace the Time Off
The time away from fitness and the gym doesn’t mean that all is lost. It brings its own value. The time away from the gym is a great way to focus on nutrition, get other body parts right and can help rejuvenate other areas.
I’m back to training strong, and I’m confident that I’ll get great results this time round, despite the time I took to recover.