Why injury recovery is dependent on understanding our vulnerabilities.
Recently Elon Musk sat down for a tell all interview with the New York Times that described the physical and mental stress that he has experienced this year as a result of the ongoing turmoil with his company Tesla. Musk normally portrays a picture of modernistic bravado when expressing his world changing ideas however his human vulnerabilities are highly transparent when he discusses the steps that lead to the current federal investigation being undertaken.
Why injuries bring out vulnerabilities
We are all human and as such will experience situations where our personal vulnerabilities will be exposed. This may lead us to make decisions that are not optimal for our best functioning. One of these times is when we are experiencing an injury. Physical injury and pain leads to increased personal stress and anxiety as generally our financial security (we are unable to work optimally) and individual self worth (a changed role within the family structure) are compromised. As a result we are unable to make decisions that would normally be in our best interest, negatively impacting our recovery.
Stress = Physical & Mental Dysfunction
On a purely physiological level stress reduces the bodies ability to heal. Studies such as this illustrate that not only do wounds not improve as quickly but cells tend to age abnormally when the body is subjected to stressors. This is due to the chemical responses that stress creates within us. This is a major issue when it comes to injury recovery as we will heal more slowly as a result of the injury because the injury (and connected vulnerabilities it induces) will generally increase our personal stressors. It is a massive wheel that can be difficult to get off if we do not acknowledge it.
Assign a stress "advisor"
My suggestion as to recovery from an injury is two fold. Firstly know what it is in this situation that will expose your personal vulnerabilities and address it. Are you going to have to take time off work to recover more quickly? Then discuss that with your employer and spouse to determine how that looks financially. Are you realistically unable to drive the kids to school? Then don't be afraid to ask for support as if you don't you may exacerbate your symptoms.
Secondly just like in business we require trusted advisors around when it comes to recovering from an injury. Your health and wellness professional is a part of this but it is even more important to have a close family member or friend that can advocate on your behalf. This person (or people) you need to be comfortable with telling you when you need to stop, start or continue your rehabilitation plan. There will be times when you will not make the best decisions as you will feel overwhelmed so your stress "advisor" will be there to keep you on track.
If you want to learn how to identify your personal stressors or would like help choosing who your stress advisor should be, connect with me at email@example.com.
Bryce Finck - Stack Health Digital Physiotherapist
Specialising in Holistic Injury Recovery