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Dealing with a long-term injury: My experience

By Calissa Reid

Last December, I was just finishing my workout when I felt a shooting pain in my hip. I brushed it off. I was too young to get hurt. I just needed to rest for a couple days.

But the pain never went away.

It wasn’t until a month later when I was limping and struggling to sit down that I realized I couldn’t handle my injury on my own. I started going to physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy was amazing. I was given an explanation as to why I was hurt, and we began treatment.

After my first appointment, I was so excited. I was finally going to get better! Most of my experiences with being hurt or sick have been the same. A quick consult, medication, and then boom! I was better. I thought it was going to be the same with my hip injury. Let’s just say I was wrong.

When I was still in pain a few weeks into physiotherapy, I felt hopeless. I’d tell myself, “Well, it looks like this will be here for the rest of your life.” I had given up.

Dealing with a long-term injury is frustrating. You may feel that you have lost control of part of your life, and that you will never get better. Your daily routine may be altered. For me, it meant I had to change my workouts, but for some people, injuries can have a much larger impact. You may miss some days of work, be placed on modified duties, or need to find a new job suitable for your abilities.

I’m going to be straight with you: being hurt sucks. My experience has taught me that your approach—both physically and mentally— to your injury will impact your recovery.

Injury free and running with my friends. Just perfect.

The first area of focus will likely be your physical recovery. When it comes to getting better, there are no short cuts—trust me on this, I looked for them! Your recovery depends on your commitment. Your health care provider is there to help you recover. Those stretches and exercises your physiotherapist gives you may seem silly, but you should do them.

You may want to rush back into motion (I know I did!) but it’s important for you to be cautious. I’m not saying you should be lying on the couch all day, but medical research shows that recovery is better when people keep to their daily routine as much as possible during recuperation. Make it a habit to ask, at every appointment, for a list of what you can do safely now—both at home and at work. Ask if there are any specific activities or tasks you should avoid.

Obviously, your physical well-being will be your main concern during your recovery, but your mental well-being is important, too. The recovery process can be frustrating and overwhelming, which can cause your emotions to spiral into a negative mindset. In the middle of my treatment, I found myself stuck with negative thoughts. Once I accepted that I was hurt, and it was going to take work to make it better, the once-dreaded physio appointments became something I looked forward to.

The path from injury to recovery can be long and daunting, which may demotivate you. If you know that recovery will take a long time, it may help to focus on small, short-term improvements. Each improvement is something to be celebrated, as you get closer and closer to recovery.

Injuries are serious business. Whether you’ve been hurt at work or on your down time, you need to work hard and have determination to recover. But in the end, it will all be worth it.

If you want to find out more about recovering from a workplace injury, visit WCB’s staying active and achieving the best recovery webpage.

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