Injury… Anyone who has had one knows what that dreaded word feels like. It consumes you every day and sometimes feels like its never going to go away. I’ve been graced with many. Unfortunately a childhood of eat sleep breathing sport catches up on you when you’ve done nothing in the way of keeping yourself in tip top physical condition.
The worst came in the form of a potential meniscus tear in my right knee in 2016. Out of nowhere, one day I was unable to walk around without pain in my knee. I had my first marathon on the horizon, training in the gym became tough, I couldn’t play hockey, being on my feet all day at work was agony. It affected the way I looked at all the things I wanted to achieve, now not knowing if these were now going to be possible. Would I need surgery? Would I be able to work? Would I have an income? Sounds extreme but there was potential for it to become that bad.
My point is, for those who have experienced injury, they will be the first ones to tell you, you want nothing more for it to just go away and never be taken to that place of fear again.
Having been in that position myself, I as a Therapist feel like it is my duty to make sure no one else ever has to be. It is my drive to make sure, you, as my client, never is. And this is why I am so passionate about my strategy to any injury that walks (or hobbles) through my door.
I use the word strategy with intent in this context.
Anyone coming through my door all have the same goal. Be injury free. Simple. But the goal is irrelevant if the strategy is the wrong one.
Anyone who stands on the start line of a race all have the same goal. To win the race. But only one of them is going to do it. Does that mean the other’s goal is wrong? Absolutely not. But the one with the best strategy in the months leading up to the race is the one that is going to win. Yes they may win things along the way but the ultimate goal isn’t ever going to be achieved.
This is why my focus towards injury is always on the strategy I will adopt with my patient rather than solely focusing on the goal. You may become injury free quite quickly with some hands on treatment but does that make me a good therapist? Surely it does? You’re injury free right? Well no. Actually it makes me a very bad one. Because your injury is going to keep coming back.
This is where I have a duty of care, and have adopted the strategy that I have towards every injury I see… Address the underlying problem and fix that. Not the injury itself.
I read a very interesting book recently that hit the nail on the head for me. If you have a messy bedroom for example, you’re generally one of those people that doesn’t prioritize organization and keeping things tidy. You know you have to eventually tidy your bedroom, and so you do. And guess what, you have a tidy bedroom. But your attitude towards tidying and keeping things organized is the same as it always was. So low and behold the bedroom becomes a mess again. Because you haven’t addressed the underlying problem.
If you want to get out of the repeated cycle of fixing an injury and then it coming back again, make sure you’re looking at the bigger picture and addressing the underlying problem.