Injury brings about pain and dysfunction, which, over time, can be managed with appropriate management strategies, which often involve a bout of physiotherapy.
Pain and dysfunction can be quite distressing, and there are several ways in which this pain and distress can affect our daily lives. Injury is a burden, and a timely recovery can be effortful. Unfortunately, injury can mean that we have to change, modify, or adapt to a new way of living whilst we recover, and these changes can be quite distressing.
In this blog, we will be talking about how injury can change our daily living experience. It is important to understand how an injury has the potential to affect us biologically, psychologically, and economically so we can address these factors in our rehabilitation management plan and ensure that the secondary effects of pain and dysfunction do not overwhelm us and impact a timely recovery.
Sleep is incredibly important for a number of biological processes, particularly in recovery, healing, restoration, and psychological well-being. Quite often, we see that an individual struggles with sleep subsequent to injury, pain and/or surgery. A lack of sleep can upregulate pain, and sleep deprivation can leave us feeling fatigued, helpless, and unmotivated to engage in activities conducive to recovery.
Without sleep, our body cannot function effectively, and so if your injury is greatly affecting your sleep, it is important that you flag this with your treating practitioners.
If you are injured, it is likely that you won’t be able to perform your usual duties at work, and sometimes it can be that you are required to take extended periods away from work to get better before you return.
In most cases, individuals are encouraged to return to work as soon as possible after an injury for several reasons.
Firstly, work is a big part of an individual’s life, and the changes that come with sudden extended periods of time away from work can be psychologically taxing. Work presents an opportunity for routine and regular activity that fosters well-being, a sense of productivity and an outlet for social interaction. With a delay in timely return to work, we observe poorer clinical outcomes.
If you have the capacity to work within the limitations of your injury, this is strongly encouraged! If you cannot, make sure you implement strategies to boost a sense of productivity, attachment to normality and regular positive social interaction!
- Socialisation and Leisurely Activity
What we do in our spare time brings great joy and purpose to our lives, and when we are injured, sometimes we have to take a break from these activities. Whether it is participation in sport, a community group, your favourite hobby or even simply the capacity to drive, injury can quite often mean we are spending more time resting or engaging in therapeutic activities, and we cannot (or do not) feel like being social or engaging in our usual leisurely activity.
It can be very frustrating when we cannot do the things we want to do. Being aware of and managing this frustration effectively through alternative outlets is important to ensure we stay focused and motivated throughout the rehabilitation process.
If you are struggling with the adjustments you are required to make subsequent to injury, this is very important to address with your treating practitioners.
Our sense of identity is intertwined with our behaviours, habits, abilities, and the way we engage and interact with the world around us. When we have to make big changes to our work lives and social engagement, our sense of belonging and identity within a community can feel uncertain. This can be very isolating and bring about a sense of self-doubt.
When we are unable to participate in activities that strongly align with whom we perceive ourselves to be, it can be very easy to lose one’s sense of self. This is why it is important to have a timely plan to return to meaningful activity.
In the meantime, it is important to engage in meaningful rehabilitation that is tailored to the needs of the lifestyle you wish to return to and also engage in leisurely activity that will act as an alternative social, expressive, and recreational outlet whilst you make your recovery.
Sometimes, injury can become a defining attribute in how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, which is not conducive to recovery. If you are having trouble conceptualising yourself beyond your injury, it is important to seek assistance.
Blog by Brittany Romas – Physiotherapist, PhysioChoice Hampton.
Brittany holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master of Physiotherapy from La Trobe University. She is currently studying for her Masters of Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy at La Trobe University. She is an avid powerlifter and has a strong interest in strength conditioning, acute sports injuries, and occupational-related conditions. Brittany has spent time in South East Asia working with paediatric patients with a large range of neurological disorders; she has developed a keen interest in providing disability support in conjunction with the NDIS. Brittany believes in a holistic approach to her client’s rehabilitation and treatments, including Hydrotherapy, Dry Needling and Clinical Pilates.