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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Pain

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Let's Talk Injury

Note: Clicking on the pictures will produce an explanation of the exercise.

"If I ever do a book on pain and injury, I hope I am able to bring a certain lightheartedness to the subject, in a way that tells the reader we are going to have fun with this thing."

I recall walking into the ice arena one day just in time to see my five year old daughter fly through the air and hit the side boards. I was ready to pull her out of skating then and there. She quietly told that she had been taught how to fall and she was quite all right. She pointed out that many of her friends fell and injured themselves just running around and playing in the neighborhood. I was begrudgingly convinced. For the next thirteen years we dealt with the usual bumps and bruises of childhood, plus potential knee problems and a bout of tendinitis. Because she had good training and she was willing to learn injury prevention and rehabilitation methods, my daughter has stayed healthy and strong. Most injuries we get in life are self treatable.

"Sometimes I think the so-called experts actually are experts."

If you walk into a doctor's office and all the doctor does is prescribe "pain killers" and send you off to bed, do not go back to that doctor again. However, if the kind of injury you have causes excruciating pain or if pain continues over a period of time or you cannot move the injured part or the injury you have been tending to is not healing, then by all means first see a doctor. When you see your physician, remember to discuss cause, prevention and rehabilitation of the injured body part. Even with serious injuries check out how soon exercising is possible. "Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait. Not me, you "

Often when we have been injured, we feel like it's the end of the world as we knew it. When my back went out on me, I spent many days wondering why fate had chosen for me this incapacitating existence. I researched, through reading and talking to others, the subject of pain and injury. I began to realize, that contrary to me being selected out for this unwarranted punishment, that every human being alive had some form and degree of injury in their lives. Becoming more conscious of thecause of injury and learning aboutprevention andrehabilitation, brought me a sense of self-empowerment and peace of mind. Where I had been fearful, my new knowledge made me more confident. Where I had been timid to do physical activity, I aggressively took to weightlifting, boxing and cycling. My initial inclination to panic gave way to thoughtfully dealing with my pain.

Causes of Injuries

"Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny."

Slipping and falling or having someone or something fall on you is one of the more obvious causes of injury. Some of the less dramatic causes are:

Common causes of injuries for weightlifters are:

Prevention of Injuries

"During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner'"

As a parent, I often wished a robot would walk around putting pillows under my falling children Robo-Wonder would also note and say things like: "Watch out for that crack in the sidewalk! "Don't fall out of that tree! "Watch out for that car! No I mean the truck! "Don't swing too high!" and, "Oh yes! Have fun!" And therein lies the catch. We people just want to have fun. Running and jumping, skimming and swimming sliding, gliding and horseback riding: without them, and all the other physical activities we do, life would be Dullsville. In order to enjoy our physical pleasures to the utmost, without injuring ourselves, we should attempt to keep our muscles, tendons and ligaments strong and supple. When we open our eyes in the morning, we should warm up our bodies for the daily activities required of us in the business of active living by:

Treatment of Injuries

"If I come back as an animal in my next lifetime, I hope it's some type of parasite, because this is the part where i take it easy!"

Now that we know what causes injuries and are conscious of the prevention of injuries, we can lay back and take it easy, because we'll never suffer pain and injury again. Right. Wrong! Shit happens! So despite all your care and concern you get injured. What does one do now? Anyone who spends time weightlifting has either heard of or read about the R.I.C.E. formula. This formula is worthwhile for even non-athletic types to keep in mind. The acronym stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation:

A short cut method, if possible, is to get into bed and wrap an ice bag around the elevated injured area.

Once you have iced and the swelling has gone down applying heat may be helpful. Heat feels good and will also increase blood flow. Aspirin can also help reduce swelling. Buffered aspirin will keep aspirin sensitive stomachs from becoming irritated. Though Tylenol will deal with the pain of injuries, it does not reduce swelling.

Rehabilitation of Injuries

"There are many stages to a persons life. In the first stage s/he is young and eager, like a beaver. In the second stage, s/he wants to build things, like dams, and maybe chew down some trees. In the third stage, s/he feels trapped, and then 'skinned.'. I'm not sure what the fourth stage is."

The sooner you can get back to activity, the sooner you will recover from injuries. Rehabilitation is done in stages and will normally take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Patience and persistence are the key words. If you rush tensely and anxiously into a rehabilitation program, you will re-injure yourself and all the work of recovery will be wasted. One of the wondrous side effects of weightlifting, when done properly and carefully, is speedy recovery for muscles, tendons and ligaments. Exercising your muscle groups increases blood circulation, rebuilds strength and improves muscle flexibility. Once the swelling has gone down and you have full range mobility without pain, you are prepared to start lifting. For recovery frommuscleinjury:

Tendons and ligaments, unlike muscles, have very little blood circulation and are tougher and less flexible. Tendons and ligaments heal slower than muscles. Repetitive motion, as many typists, cashiers, computer and adding machine operators have discovered, is counter productive. For recovery from tendon and ligament injuries a slightly different strengthening program is required. After swelling and pain have subsided:

  • Do three sets of 8-10 repetitions with light to medium weights. Continue for 2 weeks.
  • If there is still swelling and tenderness, STOP! Wait for swelling to go down. Continue with less sets and less weight.
  • Gradually increase sets and weights. Do this for two more weeks or until there is no post-workout swelling.
  • Get stronger. Do three to six sets with increased weights. After 8-10 weeks you should be able to return to normal activity.

    If you do not go for a weightlifting program, be sure to ease gradually back into the sport or exercise program of your choice. Use common sense and listen to your instincts. If your injury was caused by a specific sport, switch to another activity that will not stress the all ready injured body part:

    Remember:Get plenty of rest. Eat to nourish and heal your recuperating body.

    "Even though he was an enemy of mine, I had to admit that what he had accomplished was a brilliant piece of strategy. First, he punched me, then he kicked me, then he punched me again."

    Many people needlessly suffer from pain. Doctors tend to forget that dealing with pain and relieving suffering are the main goals of any medical practitioner. Coming to terms with our own pain and treating our bodies in a user friendly way, will aid the healing process. Pain is a signal to us that we should listen up and pay attention to our body's needs. Through consciousness and understanding we can hear what our body is saying and we can heal ourselves. Instead of the doomsday panic when injured, we can be more adventuresome in nurturing our physical being. Many societies and cultures have unique philosophies and approaches to dealing with pain. Opening our minds will allow us to learn the healing ways of others. When we open our minds and hearts to what we don't know, that is when we learn the most.

    "May suffering ones be suffering free
    And the fear struck fearless be.
    May the grieving shed all grief-
    And the sick find health relief"

    -Zen Chant-

    My quotations are from a calendar one of my children gave me called Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. I believe it is a compilation of many peoples input.

    For more injury talk please feel free to contact me:
    gypsy@dreamagic.com (Gypsy)(Info)

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