How to heal injury, whether mental or physical
Why a website about healing injury?
I am going to tell you the things I wish they’d told me. Some background; a few years ago now I experienced a string of injuries in a relatively short period of time. At the time I didn’t even realise that they were injuries. I eventually noticed patterns with what was going on and decided to set up a website so that I could record what I was experiencing, not forget what I had learnt and organise my thoughts. Hopefully this may be useful to somebody else. Somehow this makes it feel more meaningful. The website is itself a healing exercise for me.
One of the main things that I learnt is that we have our own healing power. I am not seeking to deride professionals, they have their place but the most important person is you. Are doctors, physios and other professionals. inclined to justify their roles and be reticent about sharing the ‘secret’ that we have the power within to heal? I don’t know. I also think that understanding injury is important so I want to present a structured approach that is derived from sports science rather than a list of tips, so that you are better equipped to treat and most importantly avoid injury.
In my experience there is a dearth of good quality information on this topic and injury prevention is an important but neglected issue even though most injuries are preventable or can be healed with the right approach . If they are not prevented or handled in the right way they can lead to lifelong disability. Unfortunately there are also not enough warnings given about how certain apparently innocuous activities can lead to injury.
What is different about what I am saying?
- I draw parallels between a range of physical injuries that are not usually connected and mental injury. I then apply this logical approach to these apparently different conditions and offer a new perspective on the treatment of anxiety and depression which I see as a kind of Repetitive Brain Injury (RBI) and people who experience these problems as psychological athletes.
- I take a logical and systematic approach to injury rather than just offer a random list of tips. This involves using the scientifically based principles of sports medicine and applying them to other athletes, including musical, occupational and psychological athletes.
- I focus mainly on overuse injury because it is frequently underdiagnosed. Overuse injury is also more common than acute injury. I also postulate that there is an overuse injury syndrome where somebody can be affected by a number of apparently unaffected injuries.
- I take a holistic approach that includes looking at the factors that cause injury, including psychological factors such as Cyberchondria, biological vulnerabilities such as anatomical variations and social factors such as the Triage system that is used in the U.K. for treating musculoskeletal disorders.
- I discuss ‘Restology‘, i.e.the correct way to rest.
- I am offering suggestions on things that you can do yourself.
- I discuss how you avoid injury by predicting what kind of injury you are likely to succumb to.
- I don’t make any money from this website. I am not plugging a herb, a product, a medical procedure, a drug or a physiotherapy practice so hopefully you will find that it is more objective than some other sources of information.
Who is this website for?
Anybody can be affected by injury so in a sense it is for anyone. However it is particularly appropriate for people who are exercising for remedial purposes, sports people of all ages including children, computer users, musicians and people experiencing anxiety or depression. Sports players are obviously athletes, but so are computer users, musicians and – in my opinion – sufferers of anxiety and depression.
Musician and vocalist injuries are rarely mentioned in the world of music, in my experience, but they can have a devastating effect. Because I am a musician I have included a section on the prevention and treatment of musician and vocalist injuries. This section offers a tailored approach on how to treat injury. Music can also be a form of healing and constitute an element of an individual’s healing programme.
If you have a mental health problem you need to be a psychological athlete. Let me explain. I believe that my first insight was that books or web articles about Repetitive Strain Injury of the hands never connect it to vocal overuse injuries or the other myriad of overuse injuries that can effect any part of the body. It is therefore maybe no surprise that nobody has made the connection between these injuries as a whole and mental health issues that have been caused by mental trauma/overuse. Having experienced Repetitive Strain Injury of the hands, vocal cords, and joints I realised that these are all connected. I also began to think that the anxiety that I have experienced since my teenage years had followed a similar path to the physical overuse injuries and I realised that anxiety and maybe other mental health issues are also a kind of overuse injury or Repetitive Brain Injury.
I have also learnt that emotional stress can make one prone to developing physical injuries. In fact it is a two way process because physical injuries can also cause emotional stress. Maybe these two processes interact causing a vicious circle of physical injuries that cascade and emotional stress that also spirals upwards. So controlling anxiety, depression and stress should also be of interest to all sports people and ‘musical athletes’.
I learnt that understanding gained from the field of sports injury can offer a new approach to the treatment of anxiety and depression. Conversely, understanding the treatment of anxiety and depression can also shed light on the field of sports injury. People who earn their living using a keyboard or through talking or singing are also in a sense using their bodies in the same way that athletes do and therefore the field of sports injury is highly relevant to these groups.
How to rest properly is, I believe, not obvious. Even the notion of ‘rest’ is not a simple phenomenon. In fact, that is one of the puzzles with overuse injury – it seems like a simple thing, but it isn’t which is why so much injury is not prevented. I shall try to offer useful suggestions about how to use this most powerful weapon against injury.
I must stress that these are my own personal reflections and should not be taken as an alternative to seeking appropriate qualified medical expertise or using your own good judgement. I am presenting approaches for maximising the chance of avoiding and healing injury, and am not claiming that all injury can be avoided and healed. Furthermore the human body is infinitely complex and what I say in these pages may not even apply to you and your situation so you must proceed with the utmost care and caution with anything that you read on the Internet, or that people glibly say or that you read in popular self-help books. The best approach is a timely thorough examination by a specialist, and even then you may need to get a second or third opinion and piece together a complete picture by combining what different experts have told you.
Can you help?
Currently the thinking here is based on my own experiences, though I will include scientific data if I can get access to medical scientific literature either for free or at a reasonable price. If you can help me access scientific information please contact me via email@example.com.
You can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you think that anything on the website is inaccurate or if you have something constructive to share. Follow me on twitter via @healinginjury