Having an injury or dealing with an injury is never ideal. Injuries can impact how a person moves, how they feel throughout the day; they influence basically every aspect of their life. When it comes to the training side of dealing with discomfort, a lot of people believe that resting and waiting for the discomfort to go away is the best solution to feeling better. While that might seem like a good idea initially, if your goal is to get back to training, rest can only go so far in the recovery process. If you’re reading this, I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve experienced an injury. We’re going to discuss why focusing on the big picture is such a crucial aspect of recovering from an injury to allow clients to get back to 100%.
Don’t Let Pain Dominate Their Mindset
Pain, especially pain that has been hanging around for a while, can really affect a person’s emotional well being. Having to constantly deal with pain, modify things based on how the pain is, and many other factors can be exhausting for people to deal with. A key thing that we recommend our clients to understand is that pain can be altered, regardless of how long it has existed. They need to understand that dealing and managing discomfort is a marathon, not a sprint. We also emphasize to our clients that reducing pain is not always a linear progression. There are too many factors that can influence how we feel each day and understanding small progress is still progress, even if it’s not where they want to be just yet. Sleep, hydration, nutrition, stress levels, and daily habits all need to be considered in the recovery process.
Refer Out When Necessary
As much as we think we can help everyone and anyone with whatever they are dealing with, there is a reason why there are experts and professionals in different fields. Knowing when a client needs some more emotional support from a potential counselor, a nutrition coach to help them get their diet on point, or potentially a physician to help them sort through some things that just don’t add up are key to managing a person’s pain experience. Having the open-mindedness to look past what you can personally do for them and make it more of a team approach will make your clients appreciate the fact that you are doing everything you can to help them. That is how you build lasting relationships, by putting the client’s needs above all else to ensure they are getting the necessary care and service.
This seems obvious, but a lot of people dealing with injuries struggle to enjoy any activity due to the discomfort they are experiencing on a regular basis. Many times if a client is dealing with an injury, they feel like they are isolated. Now they have to go to rehab, stay home by themselves, or do something outside of their normal routine, which can be a challenge for them. Being a great coach and clinician goes far beyond just knowing what to do to get a person out of discomfort. It involves looking at the person as a whole and understanding all the variables that go into a person’s pain and injury experience. Make the rehab process enjoyable. Keep each session as positive as you can to reassure them that there are better days ahead—and this is just a small bump in the road.
As you can see, we discuss a person’s pain/injury experience as an experience and not just a thing. There are so many things that influence pain and injuries and it would be short sighted to just clump everyone’s low back pain, ankle pain, etc as the same. Being in tune with your clients and really understanding how to modify their training to keep them feeling some normalcy as they recover from an injury is an overlooked aspect of what we do as coaches. We don’t need to stop doing everything; we just need to be more mindful of what may be causing more sensitivity and modify around it. How we frame a situation and the words that we use are also key aspects to how clients feel about an injury or condition as they recover. Modify on the microlevel to keep a client from regressing, but also understand the macro level of what goes into getting a person back to a full recovery!