Tiger Woods, a legend in all respects, was involved in an awful car wreck in late February this year that left his right leg severely injured. He found himself back in a similar position, recovering from yet another injury. As a slight detour, Woods has been known for not only winning multiple championships, but also going under the knife for his lower back injuries. The most recent surgery was a microdiscectomy (basically shaving off a piece of cartilage to ease pressure off a nerve) several months prior, and this was his fifth....yes, FIFTH procedure since undergoing lumbar fusion procedure in April 2017. You can read more here:
Tiger is one of a few names to come to mind when thinking about athletes and their injuries. Another big name, at least in the body building world, is Ronnie Coleman. Coleman was an 8x Mr. Olympia winner and easily one of the first names you can consider that helped the sport of body building explode (Arnold usually being the first). One theme that I see these athletes demonstrate regularly is persistence. These athletes have more than just physical capabilities, because in order to achieve that level of success they need to sharpen their minds. It takes a lot to withstand injury, scale training back, focus on rehabilitation, and then manage to get back to their respective sports.
I relate some of these experiences with my patients who may be struggling with their own rehabilitation. Sometimes your recovery wont be clear cut, perfectly programmed, and progressing the way you want it to. However, the characteristic that will carry you forward will be PERSISTENCE. Physical pain, although it can be disabling and distracting, is temporary. It's the mental pain that can make it feel like a lifetime has passed. Learning to settle the mind and find peace in the storm can soften the blow, allowing you to focus on the important aspects of your recovery. Stay in the game!
I'll leave you with a short quote:
"Bring the mind into sharp focus and make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere. The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself." Bruce Lee
I'm sure Woods and Coleman felt many levels of pain, each time potentially more excruciating than the last. Something that might help you is figuring out what you're working toward. Focus your mind on something extremely meaningful that will keep you working. Channel your energy toward your rehabilitation, realizing that every moment is new. You will be tried and tested, you will be tired at times, and there may be moments where you will want to (or actually) throw in the towel. A great documentary to watch when you have time is Ronnie Coleman: The King. You will see the great trials and tribulations that Coleman underwent to become the best, and the aftermath where even walking or using the stairs was a challenge. Main point I want to drive home is that your persistence and ability to focus your mind will guide you far on your path.
This blog entry is focused on helping anyone struggling with their own pain and/or disability. You are in a tough spot right now, but that doesn't define you. Do whatever you need to do to focus your mind, set the right conditions for your recovery, and execute in a way that will help you succeed. If you need any help in your recovery, reach out so that I can help you.
In good health,
Dr. James Babana PT, DPT, LMT