Things Don’t Just “Go Away"
I listen to athletes, gym members, and the general population say this phrase is some form or another constantly: Client- “I hurt my (pick any body part).”
Me- “When did you do that?”
Client- “Three months ago.”
Me- “Why didn’t you tell your coach or me about this three months ago?”
Client- “I figured it would just go away on its own.”
The body is amazing. It has the potential to heal itself in extraordinary ways. However, the process of healing is not as simple as throwing caution to wind, hoping for the best, and thinking that we can simply tough it out and persevere on sheer grit alone.
Secondly, even if that worked, why would you wait three months (or longer) before even mentioning that something was wrong?! A day or two: I understand. A week: I can usually let it slide.
Months?! There’s no excuse for that.
Despite the body’s ability to heal itself. It does so under specific circumstances. However, it isn’t as black and white to say that those abilities get turned off when those circumstances are not met. No, the mechanism of healing adapts to achieve the best result that it can given the situation into which you have forced it to work. Put simply: your body will do its best to fix your mistakes even as you continue to make them, and it’s your fault if it doesn’t get a chance to fix them effectively or in a timely manner.
No, let’s make it even simpler: Stop not taking care of yourself.
During the course of an injury, mild or severe, the body will begin, for a variety of possible reasons, to compensate for your newfound inefficiencies. These new movements patterns are better than relying on the injured area, but will never be as good as the originally intended movement. Eventually, this will lead to a second injury, and third, and fourth, etc.
Ever wonder why after you manage to get a particular area of your body to stop hurting and then suddenly another rears its ugly head? You get frustrated thinking “Now this? What’s going to hurt next? What’s the point? I’m always going to have something new hurting.” It’s not something new. It was hurt all along. It just wasn’t the body’s priority. The pain moves from the next area of compensation. Once you’ve had the opportunity to deal with the second area, then you’ll move on to the third. Then the fourth. So on and so forth, until you’ve climbed the ladder of injury back to optimal functioning.
It’s easy to lament ang get trapped in a cycle of perpetual self-pity. Why? Because self-pity is super easy. It takes no effort at all. In fact, it’s just as easy as never getting the injury checked out in the first place. Perhaps, instead of treating our bodies so disrespectfully, we can begin to ascertain (with the help of a professional) just how far down the ladder of injuries and inefficiencies we currently are and get to work as quickly as possible on correcting them. Then, those weeks and months that were spent waiting for injuries to “go away” can be used to make progress, learn, and achieve goals.