Accepting an Injury and the Reality of Recovery

Identifying chronic pain coming from an injury is an act of self-compassion, and will pave the path to recovery with realism and acceptance.

Lexy Rose | Partner & Head of Myofascial Education
 min read
May 7, 2023
Identifying chronic pain coming from an injury is an act of self-compassion, and will pave the path to recovery with realism and acceptance.

Pain is an important message that your body is sending your brain.

American workout culture proudly promotes the “no pain no gain” messaging — glorifying masochism while simultaneously condemning a person for listening to and respecting their bodies’ physical awareness.

Anyone who has had an ear to the exercise streets has had some relationship to this painful and punishing approach to training, and has probably tested it out on their own bodies’.

While adaptation to exercise can inevitably lead to soreness, it is important to be able to determine when there is a chronic pain pattern that is no longer the result of healthy challenge and fatigue. Identifying chronic pain coming from an injury is an act of self-compassion, and will pave the path to recovery with realism and acceptance.

At Upswell we believe in letting your body be your guide in finding your edge, while also listening to and honoring your limits.

Guided by the goal of exercise feeling good, and the understanding that your physical boundaries may fluctuate day to day, this is what we call “intelligent intensity.”

Here are some tips on how to address an injury, what is necessary for recovery, and how to position your brain around it all.

Let pain be your guide.

Pain that is replicable with specific motions, has been present for three or more weeks, or is constantly present with both movement and stillness is asking for your attention.

If this unpleasant sensation is stealing your awareness multiple times a day or preventing you from being able to do the active things you love to do, it’s time to seek medical guidance.

Physical therapists, sports medicine doctors, some chiropractors, acupuncturists, and exercise specialists are all practitioners that can provide diagnoses, treatment, and direction to you on your recovery journey. You needn’t suffer alone, and in fact, seeking out a professional is the best first step you can take in getting better.

Be consistent with treatment.

In order to see a change in your pain pattern and to ensure that your treatment is right for you, it’s imperative that you are consistent with your treatment plan. 

A treatment plan will be specific to the nature of the injury — bone, joint, soft tissue — and the dysfunctional movement that created it. Treatment might include whatever manual therapy (i.e. dry needling, massage, acupuncture, fascial stretch) your provider is versed in, as well as the home care they assign you.

Do your homework!

Take your PT exercises seriously, do them well, and do them often. If your provider recommends regular icing and foam rolling, make these practices a priority and notice the immediate change they are creating in your pain levels.

Ask yourself “what am I doing today to make my injury better”.

This will help you hold yourself accountable and to fully realize the power of your own proactivity, even if the answer is “resting”.

Take care of your brain.

Not being able to be physical because of an injury can take a toll on your mental health. Take time to reflect on your feelings around this experience, and on the necessary steps you are taking to make it better. Realize that injuries are an inevitable outcome of having a moving human body.

Consider cross training with meditation.

Studies have shown that a regular meditation practice can decrease total body inflammation, lessen stress hormones, and increase production of feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.

When pain and injuries are identified, they need to be addressed with compassion and realism. It is important to stop all activities that are aggravating the painful problem in order to initiate the healing process. 

While you seek out the care of a medical professional, consider grounding yourself in a nurturing environment that feeds you emotionally and physically.

The Upswell philosophy is one of intelligent intensity;  marrying recovery-focused movement and athletic recovery modalities for longevity in your day-to-day life and the athletic endeavors you love.

At Upswell you will find self-paced compression, percussion, and contrast recovery equipment, infrared saunas, seasoned exercise professionals and body workers, guided meditation, and a community of knowledge, love, and support.

Upswell is the ideal home to heal your mind and body.

For more information about our athletic recovery offerings, or anything else related to living your most vibrant life, visit our website here or email our managing partner Dr. Kat Sand.

Lexy Rose is a Colorado native who began teaching exercise and personal training in 2008.