By Guest Writer Diana Bailey
“Appearance is absolute, but reality is not that way.
Everything is interdependent, not absolute.” Dalai Lama
Taking Charge: Self Guided Recovery
At a certain point, you may choose to guide your own program. If you look to activities that are familiar, enjoyable, and easy, the results are usually okay. Let pain be your guide. If it still hurts, you really are better off getting some help or at least finding an activity that does not cause pain. When you find one, do parts of it differently so the answer (what you “should” be doing) is not immediately apparent. The change of context reduces reflexive guarding and rebuilds confidence if the challenge is appropriate. An appropriate challenge means there is no pain in the doing and none after!
High pain tolerance is not your friend when it comes to injury because it results in ignoring important warnings or overdoing. Low pain tolerance and micro-focusing on pain is not useful either. Developing an accurate pain scale is worthwhile; that means you know the difference between the discomfort that may be necessary to reclaim motion, and a warning that something is about to get serious. In the beginning, the distance between those two points, and the time to respond, is small. Moving and working slowly provides the space to back off. Enduring and ignoring are not the same as noticing and exploring.
The goal is to accurately interpret the message and respond.
Begin any activity with very short exposures. A marathon runner with over 20 years of experience once told me she begins with about a ten minute run her first time back. That idea seemed wimpy and stupid. The real lesson came from first ignoring her suggestion, and then, after another setback, trying it.
Experience teaches what direction cannot.
In the beginning, it has to feel like nothing! No pain means all gain every time. A “wait and see” attitude pays off big in early trials. The discipline to stick with a plan, and to stop before there is an issue, is far more important than any single workout.