As a physical therapist, I have the awesome responsibility of getting someone back to the things that they enjoy doing most. Having injured my lower back a few years ago, I understand what it is like when a routine part of your life is halted due to an injury or unfortunate event. I love to exercise, and my lower back injury forced me to stop weightlifting almost completely. So at that exact moment in time, I wasn’t really concerned about the injury itself but more so what the injury would keep me from doing.
I knew something had to change because this wasn’t my first back injury. I had to learn that getting in shape isn’t only about exercising; it requires additional components that I needed to take into account, if I wanted to recover properly. I began researching my injuries and started to notice a common theme – I was focusing too much on what I thought represented good health and not focusing on wellness. I guess you live and learn.
I began paying attention to several aspects of physical wellness, including my nutrition, sleep, and proper exercise. I learned about meal preparation and portion control, balancing rest with activity, and focusing on improving core stability and postural awareness. When I incorporated these changes into my life, the pain decreased, I had more energy, and an overall greater level of enjoyment in my daily routine.
It’s been four years since my injury and I have returned to lifting weights. I think it’s really easy for all of us, as busy as we are, to overlook important aspects of our health and wellness. I’m not saying everyone will share my experiences. However, I will say that stepping back and evaluating my health in a holistic manner has helped me come up with a long-term plan to help me stay well.
This is the approach I take in my practice with all of my clients; recognizing that there is no cookbook approach to helping someone get back to the things they enjoy most.