Matt and I deal with lots of clients (and potential clients) who are at various stages of recovery/rehabilitation/injury management, and invariably all of these people are aiming to regain movement and abilities that were once easy for them, or at least achievable. The irony isn’t lost on us that a lot of people don’t start to worry about how they’re moving until they can’t move the way they used to. Every time we talk with someone who is frustrated by their physical limitations, it highlights to us that while we can help to facilitate the recovery process, ultimately whether we’re successful or not is up to the individual.
We have been having this conversation with people more and more over the last few months and really what we’re trying to do is get people back in the drivers seat when it comes to their own bodies. You’re not always going to have a coach/personal trainer, a massage therapist, your osteopath, physiotherapist or doctor around to interpret what’s going on with your body and even if you did, they can’t feel what you’re feeling. That means it’s really important to get good at listening to and understanding what your body is telling you.
More than that though, we’re also trying to encourage people to have actual conversations with their body. “But what does that even mean, Amelia?” In real life, it means that if you have a sore knee, try and understand when, why and how you have a sore knee. Have a ‘conversation’ with your knee. Gently play around with its movement and strength. Take note of what aggravates it and what movements and actions are limited and try and understand why that might be. Most importantly though, learn what you’re still able to do even with your sore knee. (Gently and slowly of course).
So many people with pain, illness or injury are riding around in the passenger seat and their limitation is driving not just their movement, but their whole lives. “I can’t do that” or “I’m not gonna try that” are phrases that we hear time and time again. Some for legitimate reasons (which is totally cool), but often people have become so terrified of hurting themselves again that they use their injury as an excuse to not move or participate in life anymore. Ironically, fear of movement leads to movement dysfunction and movement dysfunction leads to further injury.
Now I am by no means telling you to kick your pain, injury or illness out of the car entirely. That would be really irresponsible! But just change places with it. Your limitation can still be in the passenger seat, but you take charge and drive again. It’s just like saying “Hey, I need to get to Toowong by 9am tomorrow morning” and your passenger saying “Oh, I dunno, that’s peak hour and the traffic is going to be horrendous. I really think we should just stay home”, and then you say “Hmmm, how about we take the tunnel so we don’t get caught in traffic? It’s okay, we’ll leave a bit earlier and we’ll get there fine!”
When you first jump back in the drivers seat, you’ll have a really nervous passenger sitting beside you, but the more calmly and confidently you handle different situations, the more your passenger will trust you. Here’s the best part though – it’s actually you starting to trust yourself again.