7 Tips To Help You Recover From An Injury The Right Way

It’s been four months since I tore my hamstring tendons while running. Ouch. It has not been an easy injury to recover from. Though I’m grateful for being as healthy as I am and for being on the mend since the day of the injury. I’ve learned a lot in the process about recovery. While I would never wish an injury upon anyone, if it does happen to you, here are seven lessons that might be useful:

1. You need to listen to your body.

To keep your recovery going in a positive trajectory, you need to become more in tune with your body and listen to it harder than you ever have before. It’s also important to watch, monitor and document your progress. Seeing improvement gives the mind some relief and the heart some hope.

2. You should get multiple opinions.

You've heard it before: Always get a second opinion. But really, get a second opinion or even a third. I saw three surgeons and consulted multiple chiropractors and acupuncturists before deciding not to operate on my hamstring.

The first doctor told me surgery was a must, the second and third told me the opposite. You want to make educated, informed and realistic choices for your body and your situation. That often takes a few different brains to figure out.

3. Build a support team.

Along the same lines as above, seeking care from various practitioners, body workers, healers, therapists, friends, family and whomever else you might need is crucial. Injuries can affect every facet of your life, so having support for treatment of the actual injury, the rest of your body, your mind, your spirit and your heart is so crucial.

I mentioned I saw three doctors, but I also have two acupuncturists, two chiropractors, a physical therapist, a mental health therapist and amazing family and friends. Never underestimate the power of having people who check in on you.

4. Celebrate the small victories.

I live by this theory, but it is especially true when you're working your way back from injury. Get excited about every step of the journey. Not every step will be in the right direction and that's ok. It's part of the process.

I was so excited when I could bend my knees in an attempted squat assisted by the TRX. It was more of a "squat" than I could do the weeks before. Then I squatted unassisted. Then with a little weight. Then with plyo. Then with more weight. These little victories come every day and they make the steps backward easier to deal with.

5. Relish in the chance to start over.

Often, not always, the injury occurs because of some sort of imbalance. Muscular, skeletal, mental or circumstantial. Now is the time to go back and fix movements and patterns. Now is the time to rebuild from the ground up. While an injury is not the most ideal circumstance, you can find the positive in getting to do a little physical and mental reboot.

6. Realize how amazing your body really is.

Whether you broke, tore, strained, pinched, pulled, burned or cut your body, it is healing. Even if you had surgery to help repair it, the body is still healing itself on its own. How cool is that? I was seriously injured and now I can run three months later? The body is an amazing thing.

7. Remember there are no days off in recovery.

That doesn't mean there aren't days of rest. The two are different. Rest is a part of healing; every day is a part of the process of recovery though. You can’t forget that it happened for a day. That is when you risk potentially re-injuring yourself. If a day off or many are needed, take them, but don’t take them without being conscious about it. Ninety-eight percent better is still not 100 percent. Stay diligent, stay humble, stay in tune.

Shauna Harrison

Shauna Harrison, Ph.D., is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. Teaching fitness was a side gig for Shauna while she attended Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. Twenty years, three graduate degrees, and multiple brand partnerships later, she is now a full-time movement advocate. She is a TRX® ambassador; creator of Muscle & Flow, #SWEATADAY, and Hip Hop Cycle®; and is also the creative director and a lifestyle athlete for Zenrez. What is your wellness philosophy? If I had to put my philosophy into words, I would say it revolves around two different concepts. The first, and the most important, is the WHY. It is very easy to get caught up in "this diet will help you shed pounds instantly," "these are the only 5 exercises you'll ever need," etc. But, why? Why do we want to lose weight (or insert any other outcome)? Is it to fit in? To meet societal standards? Or is it to function better and prolong our lives? The underlying "why" that we don't often think about is crucial. When you can identify and embody that "why?" it becomes second nature. Wellness is then part of your "job" as a human to take care of the body you were given. It is also a gift that you get to give yourself every single day. What brought you into wellness?In terms of fitness itself, I always say that I got into fitness for all the wrong reasons, but I stayed for the right ones. I got into it as a means to a very unhealthy, unachievable end. I was very insecure about my body, very type A and very into (and good at) being controlling about my movement and my caloric intake. It was the perfect recipe for an eating disorder, and that is exactly what happened. It took awhile, but eventually I came to see movement as a way to get into my body instead of trying to do anything I could to get out of it. I started appreciating the capability that I had, seeking challenge, and really learning to be in awe of the amazing suit that we wear. This process of taking better care of myself from my most inner emotions all the way out to my most external actions towards others was my entry into wellness. What does You. We. All. mean to you?We talk a lot about "holistic" approaches in wellness with regards to considering the entire spectrum of body, mind and soul, all dimensions of care techniques and all aspects of the world we encounter. To me, You. We. All. is the holistic approach to world wellness. We consider the entire spectrum of our species, all dimensions of the communities that surround us and all aspects of the planet we inhabit. It's inclusive. It's cooperative. It's synergistic. It's reciprocal. What empowers you?Hip hop. Not to say that every hip hop song ever made uses empowering language, but beats and rhymes do, in fact, give me life.
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Shauna Harrison

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