We’ve had a bit of a run with injuries at Lake Health Group this last week or two and I’m not referring to our clients! It`s a given that day in and day out our therapists treat people`s aches and pains but when injuries happen to therapists who looks after them? Also just because we work in the field doesn`t mean that we are immune to injuries or have superhuman powers that protect us from ailments.
So you ask, what injuries have happened and how. Well currently, yours truly has a fractured wrist, courtesy of not quite making the last repetition in a set of box jumps in the garage, Ryan has a grade 2 tear of his posterior cruciate ligament sustained in a ruck contest at football and Jane, our Myotherapist, is battling a knee injury that may or may not need surgery. All of these injuries sound bad, and yes they are pretty serious, but all were sustained because your therapist places a high priority on physical fitness, being active and pushing the boundaries with sport. Could they have been avoided, possibly, but do you really want to see a therapist who sits on the couch all day and is at high risk of a number of health ailments that we now know are associated with inactivity? I`m not sure if you want to be told to do your exercises or push yourself to increase your running by a therapist who couldn`t make it to their car without nearly having a heart attack? Thought not.
Yes, I can hear some of you say that we all could have picked less risky activities to be involved in and still stayed fit and healthy. I`ll also concede that point but, if you are looking to push the boundaries and excel in your sport then you need to push your body as well. The simple fact is that we all love our chosen sports and competing, or just participating, keeps our motivation levels up. All research points to the fact that being active has many positive health benefits both physically and mentally. In fact, inactivity is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and obesity all COMBINED! Yes you read correctly, all of those risk factors combined aren`t as bad for you as being inactive.
Now let`s cut to the chase. The other reason it is in your best interests if your therapist has been injured at some point is that they can not only empathise with you regarding your injury, they actually know first hand what it FEELS like. Many of my clients are uncertain what they are supposed to be feeling when they come back after a hamstring strain or how much ongoing pain is acceptable with an injury problem. We can help deal with the injury issues on an emotional level through our experiences. As most would know, certain injuries need help from modern medicine. Things like cortisone injections, or short courses of oral steroids, can be useful in helping injuries settle enough to allow rehabilitation and physio to be more effective. Investigations like MRI have also changed the way we treat injuries and, if your therapist can help your understanding of such a test, it can allay any concerns you may have about the process. A soft tissue therapy such as Myotherapy, deep tissue massage as well as dry needling are also helpful adjuncts that can improve the time it takes to get back to full function. If your therapist has experienced these therapies themselves, they can then explain how it feels and what you are likely to expect in the short, medium and long term. Don’t worry, we also certainly understand how hard it is to stop doing what you love but, with the right treatment, we can ensure that you make it back as quickly as possible. Regardless if it’s a tendinopathy, torn muscle, back strain, fracture or deep contusion, you have to put the time into injury rehabilitation, improving your core strength and developing a training regime to reduce the risk of injury in the future.
I will never buy into the “I can`t do anything” train of thought because it`s absolute rubbish. You can always find a way to do some physical activity, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Every time you think you`re doing it tough, spare a thought for injured hit and run cyclist Christian Ashby who is doing the hard yards to get back to some degree of physical activity. He just focuses on what he can do, not what he can`t. Remember, whenever you are doing it tough, someone is always doing it tougher!
So next time you see your regular therapist with your latest ache or pain, understand that we are not superhuman and can get injured too, but that experience of your therapist having been injured is actually a plus for you, as you get a first hand insight into your own injury and how to cope with and beat it. – Michael Pierce