It may seem obvious to define or identify what an injury is, but alas this is not the case. There are 2 kinds of injury; the acute and the misuse injury. Misuse injuries are often referred to as overuse injuries, but overuse is only one element of misuse. An acute injury is usually clear, but misuse injuries are more complex. It took me a while to realise that I was experiencing a string of injuries. There is also an overlap between degeneration of the body and injuries. Clearly, as we become older and our bodies are not as resilient then we are more prone to injury. However, if you look after yourself as you age then you are less likely to experience misuse injuries and even young people can experience an overuse injury, so everything cannot always be blamed on the ageing process. Age is a risk factor for injury, but there are a number of other important risk factors such as posture.
Things become even more complex when the concept of injury is applied to mental health. I would argue that there is no reason why it shouldn’t be applied, because there is no reason to assume that the mechanisms that apply to our bodies do not also apply to our minds. The concept of trauma i.e. acute injury is readily applied to mental health, so why can’t the notion of misuse injury also be applied?
It’s taken me 11 years, but I’ve finally worked out the cause of most of my injuries. I started off with pain in feet because of Pes Cavus and compensated for this by using a computer more whilst sitting with my feet raised. This led to Repetitive Strain Injury and because I wasn’t typing I tried Voice Recognition Software and started using my voice differently which then led to voice problems. When I felt like I was not making enough progress (after about 6 months), I went back to see a physio who thought that a knee problem that had developed was caused by scoliosis in my back and an accompanying leg length discrepancy. I then tried a 2 cm shoe raise in what I was told was my shorter leg. However, I later learned that I did not have a shorter leg. Not surprisingly this increase in height of one of my legs then led to quite serious problems where I could not actually move my right leg. To cut a long story short since then I’ve had problems with i) pain in the right side of my torso, ii) hip pain in my right leg (this has been reduced significantly by an operation performed by Damien Griffen in Coventry) pain in my left hip (only affects me if I am sitting on a soft chair or where my knees are higher than my hips), iii) problems with my right shoulder (a rotator cuff tear).
Each time I got an injury I did something to compensate for the injury and then got another one because I was suddenly increasing the load on another part of my body and thereby creating another overuse/misuse injury.
It’s quite frustrating to think that all of these problems could have been avoided through not trying to compensate for one injury by using my body differently in another way and by not properly resting injuries.