Rehabbing From an Injury: Getting Back on the Horse
Are you rehabbing from an injury? Believe me, I know what you're going through.
It's been 11 months since I had reconstructive surgery on the ACL in my left knee (I had my right knee done four years ago). The toughest part about rehab is that your normal workout rhythm is compromised, additionally if your dealing with a joint, you no longer have the uniformity of working out the corresponding joint at the same time. I'm not going to go through all the challenges of rehab; finding a compatible therapist, finding the time and money for regular visits, etc. For this post, let's assume you have completed initial rehab and concentrate on the recovery phase of getting back to your prior level of activity, specifically sports.
Since I've had two different ACL replacement procedures I can speak knowledgeably about some rehabs being easier than others.
When I got surgery on my first ACL I was two-weeks away from opening a Judo studio, so I was teaching while I was recovering, when I got my 2nd surgery on the other knee I got a more invasive procedure and I stopped teaching during my rehab; I also had a therapist who was unfamiliar with the rehab protocols on the new procedure, and frankly, didn't work me hard enough.
In fairness, only you know how hard to work your body, but here's the most important thing you need to keep in mind: the mental recovery is harder than the physical, and if your either afraid or re-injuring, or not sure when it's ok to push through the pain, your going to retard your own progress.
You need to talk to your Dr., explain to him that your not sure how hard to push it, then relay that info to your therapist, if they're not pushing you hard enough, explain to them what the Dr. felt was appropriate. Conversely if you think they are working you too hard, talk to your Dr. and make sure your not rendering your rehab ineffective before you ask the therapist to "ease-up".
I just had my first Judo workout in 11 months last Friday. The knee is still a little weak, and mentally, I'm a little tentative, but I realized that I was at the point in my rehab that I NEEDED to do my sport to bring myself "the rest of the way", the point is that for the maximum amount of physical and mental benefit, you need to get back to your sport as soon as you are cleared by your Dr. Getting back on the horse was also a huge boost to my morale.
The most important thing to get from this blog (if you get anything at all) is that sometimes your the best barometer of what you can and can't do, consult with your Dr. and therapist, but also trust your intuition, you know your own body better than you think, I realize it's a fine line, but don't let the mental damage of a traumatic injury keep you away from the one the one thing that will give you the most mental and physical benefit: your sport.