One of the many fringe benefits of being a CPT is that I have learned coping mechanisms and small therapies to manage injuries. I have used many of these tricks or “workarounds” to help my clients strengthen their muscles without pain. Despite my persistent enthusiasm for injury modifications, I never actually mentally prepared to have to use them for myself. What follows is my account of injury reality and recovery.
I’m battling a chronic pain in my left shoulder. This began about six months ago, quietly and steadily increasing over time. In the beginning, I noticed that I would feel a dull ache after pushups and after waking in the morning. Even now, if I lift my bent arm straight forward, I will experience a sharp and sudden jolt of pain around my shoulder joint. It feels as if I have a bristly splinter encased within the shoulder ball joint. In short, it hurts!
I believe, after giving this some thought, that my injury is due to overuse and strain, but I haven’t actually had this formally diagnosed yet. I notice that I can reduce the severity of pain if I give myself plenty of rest and ice. I continue to be mindful of my form (and modify as needed) when I perform classic exercises, such as pushups and chest presses.
I’m doing exactly what I would tell my clients, but I am now aware of the psychological consequences of this set back. Even though I am still strong and healthy, I don’t feel nearly as much confidence in myself as I once did. In fact, I feel more out of shape and weak than ever before! I also feel like a hypocrite as I write about this because I have always been very compassionate of my clients’ struggles. I reassure them that it is not only okay, but important not to ignore pain. Ignoring pain can lead to further complications, such as expensive therapies and invasive surgeries. To modify workouts is not weak! It is a smart and safe practice.
If I were my client, I would tell myself to relax and to remember that if being healthy is my goal, I must respect my injury and let it heal gradually over time. I would also tell myself to continue practicing yoga and gentle stretches between strengthening workouts. Stretching prevents the joints and tendons from getting tight and becoming locked in place. In addition, yoga also helps me remain mindful and greatly reduces mental stress. Even now, as I write myself this written ‘pep talk,’ I sense that I have instantly boosted my morale!!! In the future, when I start to feel low again, I will revisit this post.
I will write more of my progress as I paddle forward (carefully!), but I do feel that this injury has already made me a better Personal Trainer. If you find yourself in an injured state and have suggestions or would like some advice, please contact me or reply to this post. I would love to talk more about your injury and try to help you.
Thank you and take care!