We all know that accidents and injuries are a part of life, and though it may be inconvenient, bumps and bruises and occasional tears will heal with proper care and attention. But there are those injuries that are disabling, resolving not in weeks but in months or even years depending on the level of care and rehabilitation. Car accidents, falls, broken bones, torn ligaments and spinal disc herniations create an event in your body which I often refer to the “Pitbull Effect”. Meaning, when you experience these serious events, it’s as though you just adopted a Pitbull that will be latched on to your body at all times, and when it gets angry, it BITES!
Get to know your Pitbull. The effect of a severe injury determines the attitude of your Pitbull. If you injured your spinal disc, for instance, there are triggers and activities that you may need to avoid in order to placate the situation. Hence, know what makes that Pitbull happy, know how much it tolerates before getting agitated, and know when to stop provoking it. In this sense, you get to know your body and it’s capacity for certain functions before it becomes vulnerable to the Pitbull’s bite.
Get a longer leash. Your injuries may be life long, and that Pitbull is here to stay. Having distance between you and this animal can serve you well. Corrective nutrition, physical rehabilitation, body work, and modified activities will help distance you from your pain and disability, and thus keep these flare-ups and ‘bites’ from becoming frequent or severe when they do occur.
Teach your Pitbull to play well with others. Often times you want to return to the original activity that brought the initial severe injury, and the possibility of pursuing these same movements or loads over time will cause pain and further injury. Learn from your trainers and therapists what alternatives exist to complement your training, workouts, or activity so that you can still keep your intensity and your program challenging and fulfilling.
Care for it, feed it, and be mindful of it. Like any pet, you don’t ever want to neglect the basics for it’s survival. Pay attention to your Pitbull’s needs on a regular basis and it is happy, so are you. There may be times when the Pitbull can get away with less attention and care, but know that it will eventually demand your attention, or bite you to get attention!
When you are struggling to manage acute and chronic injuries, treat it like a newly adopted Pitbull, and be mindful of the parental responsibility you now have. It’s up to you to nurture it, placate it, and rehabilitate it to behave accordingly. Get help if and when you need it, but just remember, the happier that Pitbull, the happier you are!