They don’t really but if you read on you will find out why it relates to rehab from injury.
Success…the holy grail of words
It's what most people say they want from life alongside 'happiness'.
I want to discuss when rehab has not been a success and why
this may occur and how you can become successful in your rehab.
The meaning of success is vast.
From a pregnant woman not getting morning sickness to winning an Olympic gold medal are both examples of a success (Jessica Ennis knows about both).
In this example, the level of success is obviously different, one is life changing over a Long period of time and the other is avoiding a period of discomfort for a reasonably Short period of time (At the risk of annoying some mothers who have had morning sickness, I apologise if I have offended you by describing it as discomfort but I'm sure you get my point). The main difference between the two examples is the TIME involved in achieving the success.
When people get injured they initially see success as avoiding a short period of discomfort QUICKLY (as in NOW NOW NOW) like the pregnant lady. Your brain is screaming, “I don't want this pain” and “get rid of it now” AND “I want to get back to sport ASAP”. This is totally understandable but, with certain injuries, especially those that occur when you do more exercise (e.g. 5 miles into a run), the period of time for pain relief/recovery can take months to occur and this is where success in rehab is often lost.
In the example of the pregnant lady with morning sickness, in the majority of cases, it's only in the morning (hence the name) and it will definitely go away after a few months (usually second or third trimester). It’s predictable, common and relatively ‘normalish’ (in pregnancy), which gives her the reassurance that it is temporary and she will get better.
In the case of the runner who has pain intermittently after 5 miles of running, unlike the pregnant lady, he/she does not have a cause (morning sickness caused by pregnancy) or timeframe (second or third trimester) for the resolution of the problem.
The runner thinks “WHY does the pain occur at mile 5 and when is it going to end”. This leads to anxiety and low mood, which causes unhelpful hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to be released. These hormones can delay repair to tissues and therefore recovery. These hormones should only be released when the body has to move quickly or is in severe danger e.g. running away from that famous bull or angry dog. The Runner becomes frustrated and continues to hope it will eventually just go away but it doesn’t.
The point I am trying to make is, the success of your rehab is about identifying the cause early and then setting realistic timeframes for recovery. Often, clients have had pain for month’s even years and have no idea why they get their pain but expect to get better in days once the diagnosis has been made. Diagnosis is obviously very important but understanding realistic recovery timeframes is essential for the long term success of your rehabilitation. So, if we take our pregnant lady again, but this time we remove the information about the sickness going away once she reaches a certain trimester, she would be left with a diagnosis (morning sickness) but no end to the problem. Without, the timeframe, our pregnant lady can become very anxious and it can have other significant effects on her hormonal system.
I believe with rehab we need to be more like the Olympic athlete. They have their goal (Olympics), they have a fixed time period, they train sensibly for a set period of time, they load gradually, they peak at just the right point and success comes. Rehabilitation from injury should be the same. Find out the diagnosis, set goals for a specific timeframe, train at the right intensity, and success comes. If you only focus on the short term pain, you will only get short term results.
@ ProCare, we make a diagnosis, we set goals according to
realistic recovery timeframes so that clients know what to expect and achieve