What (Not) to Do When You’re Injured

So in January, I did something really stupid. Knowing perfectly well I wasn’t warm, I attempted a difficult pole move and felt something sort of come apart in my shoulder. Some of you might know that I have a previous shoulder injury. I kept poling and avoided certain moves, did some physical therapy sessions and boom, I was good. Went back to poling, no problem.

This time around, I had NOT been doing my physical therapy, didn’t warm up, and attempted something I’d never tried before. Whoops.

So there I was. Icing and heating myself on the couch, absolutely miserable and all with our brand new X-Stage I’d dragged upstairs and spent several hours assembling myself. What was a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what a girl was Not To Do. And I’ll also tell you that I did all of them. And not only did my injury not go away, it got worse. Shocking, I know. I also happen to know that I’m not the only person out there who has done one or all of the following in this situation.

    1. Don’t: Keep attempting physical exercise using your injured body part. I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently. Really, I was in denial. Either way, I would take a few weeks off and be back at it. Then I’d stop for a month, and try again. I also went climbing the week after I injured myself. This was a terrible idea and I blew out both of my shoulders, which resulted in me falling and twisting my ankle when I landed on it. Luckily my non-injured shoulder was alright.
      Do: Rest. Take at least a few days off. I know. It sucks. But really, just do it. If daily activities (like getting dressed or getting off the sofa) cause you intense pain after those few days, make that a few weeks.
    2. Don’t: Avoid doctors at all costs. Opting for the “Google” treatment (obsessively search google and WebMD to figure out what’s wrong then pray that it will go away on its own), I waited until April to see a doctor and it was almost May before I started seeing a physiotherapist. Had I seen one in January or February, I’d have been back to pole months earlier. I would have also saved myself a lot of pain and sleepless nights.
      Do: Go to a doctor. If you don’t have health insurance or have inadequate health insurance, I totally get this. I’ve been there and it sucks. Explore all other avenues if possible. But if you do have health insurance, and you can afford to see a doctor, just do it. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain in the long run. Better safe than sorry.

      I was not like Bill.
    3. Don’t: Sit around and wallow in your sadness because you can’t pole. Yeah. I did this. I regret it.
      Do: Anything else. Go for a run. Or a walk. Or take a Zumba class. Dance in your kitchen. Really, anything. Your body will thank you when you go back to pole, hoop, climbing, whatever it is you do and you still have some stamina because you haven’t been on the couch for three months doing nothing.
    4. Don’t: Expect to be able to do all the things you could before. So this is for the after, really, for once you’re feeling better and have the all clear from a medical professional to get back to your activity of choice. I’ve lost some strength and it’s pretty frustrating. Moves that were easy for me before are difficult right now. Some I can’t do at all, probably partially out of fear that I’ll hurt myself again.
      Do: Take it easy on yourself. Physically and mentally. You’ll build that strength back up and it’s okay to take it slow and focus on enjoying yourself.  The kinder you are to yourself, the easier recovery will be.What are your do’s and don’ts of being injured? Let me know!
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