7 Things to Remember When You’re Battling A Chronic Injury

I’m definitely no stranger to chronic injuries.

IT Band Syndrome. Herniated discs in my lower back. And my current injury? Achilles Tendonitis.

Oh the frustration! Here’s where my mind wants to lead me:

“The weather’s getting warmer and all I want to do is run, dance, walk and hike!”
“Everybody else gets to have fun. It’s not fair!”
“I just want to be NORMAL again.”

Sound familiar? I’ve spent a lot of time in that mindset, so I get it. However, I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully healed my body from every chronic injury I’ve ever faced, and I’ve worked with countless clients that have done the same. I know that you can to!

Check out the video below or continue reading to learn the 7 things to remember when you’re battling a chronic injury:

1. Your body wants to heal itself

Throughout my life, doctors have tried to convince me of many things about my body:

“You’ll always have asthma and will always need an inhaler.” Oh really? Is that why I haven’t used one since I was 16?
“You’ll need surgery for those herniated discs because they’ll never heal on their own.” I healed those 3 discs on my own over 3 years ago.
“You’ll always have osteoporosis.” One year later, I reversed the bone loss – without medication.

The list is endless. My point is that it would’ve been easy to fall into the trap of believing I was doomed for life, and that my body is somehow weak. But I choose to believe otherwise: I choose to believe that my body wants to heal itself.

If you believe you’ll be injured and limited forever, guess what? You will be.

Mindset. Believe that you will heal and you will.

2. Stop blaming yourself

With my current injury, I know I pushed myself too hard and overtrained. I was sleep deprived, dehydrated and anxious – a recipe for disaster. So yes, I knew better and this was a wake up call. However, stewing in thoughts like, “How could I be so stupid?” isn’t going to heal my tendon any faster. In fact, it’s just going to take up space from the positive mindset I know I need to heal.

Whatever you think you did to cause this injury, let it go.

Yes, perhaps you overtrained. Yes, perhaps you weren’t being mindful. Ok, we get it. Can we move on now? The sooner you can stop blaming yourself, the faster you can put yourself on the road to recovery.

3. Hate never heals

Right now, I’m nursing my Achilles tendon back to health. It’s easy to look at my “good” left ankle, compare it to my “bad” right ankle, and get angry. There have been times where I’ve actually found myself staring at the inflamed tendon saying, “Ugh! I hate you!”

Let’s be real here though: Hate never heals. Hate destroys.

So now I take a different approach: I shower that right Achilles with as much love as possible. Giving too much energy to an injury is never a good thing because it just fuels the issue. Giving too much love? Not possible. Foot massages, diet modifications specifically for building tendon strength and gentle exercises  – these are all part of my Achilles healing plan.

Oh, and stop calling it your “bad” {ankle, leg, elbow, wrist}! Good – bad: Stop already. It’s not bad, and it’s not a “problem.” In fact, I highly encourage you to name that little sore spot. My right Achilles tendon shall now be called Apollo (do a little research on Greek Mythology and you’ll understand why).

Love your body. Accept, nurture, nourish, massage and give it what it needs to heal.

4. Short term pain, long term gain

Whenever I’m injured, it’s easy for my mind to spiral out of control and focus on all the things I can’t do.

“I won’t be able to hike when I travel!”
“I won’t be able to go on long walks as the weather gets warmer!”
“I won’t be able to play Dance Jam on Wii!”

These thoughts lead me to want to rush the healing process, which we all know never ends well. It always leads to re-injury, sometimes even worse than the original injury, which ends up leading to even MORE down time, and MORE frustration.

Being injured feels painful. It’s important to remain patient. Use this as an opportunity to try other forms of working out, or to explore other ways to occupy your time. Be conservative and give your body the gift of time to fully heal. When you do, you’ll come back even stronger.

Remember the big picture: Short term “pain” for long term gain. I put “pain” in quotes because hopefully you’ll learn that this healing process doesn’t actually need to be painful at all!

5. Uncover the lesson

Every injury teaches me an invaluable lesson. It gives me a wake up call and pushes me into the present moment. This inflamed Achilles tendon is a reminder that I need to slow down, and that if I continue to repeat old habits (running too hard when I’m stressed out, dehydrated and exhausted), I’ll continue to re-injure myself.

Injuries and pain are one way for our bodies to communicate with us. The “chronic” part comes in when we don’t listen. This injury has been put in your path for a reason. What is it trying to teach you?

6. Trust your body

If I listened to everybody else when it came to my injuries (doctors, friends, family, etc.), I’d be loaded up on anti-inflammatories, spending thousands of dollars on various treatments and probably would’ve undergone surgery on 90% of my body at this point.

Ok. Perhaps that’s an over exaggeration, but I think you get my point: Everybody has an opinion based on their own experience, training, background and beliefs. But at the end of the day, this is YOUR body, so YOU’RE the driver of this car.

It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of doctors, treatments, medications, etc. There is a time and place for both Eastern and Western therapeutic techniques. Take in everything you’re hearing and give yourself time to absorb how it feels. With this current injury, I had one doctor swear the pain was coming from my lower back. But I know my body, and I know he’s incorrect. I trust myself enough to NOT act on his recommendations.

7. You’re not alone

The chronic injury battle: I’ve been there. Countless clients of mine have been there. Friends. Family. Coworkers.

More people than you realize are battling their bodies. You’re not alone. Find support from those who understand, and distance yourself from those who don’t.

Having a chronic injury can mean a slew of things. Get to know YOUR body and trust your intuition about how to heal it.

You’re stronger than you realize. BELIEVE.

Do you know somebody that’s struggling with chronic injury? Send them this video and let them know they’re not alone!

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9 Responses to 7 Things to Remember When You’re Battling A Chronic Injury

  1. 1 says:

    Hi, sorry, this isn’t relevant to this article (which is great by the way), but I’m a 17 year old male wondering if you would be able to give me some relationship advice? I’ve seen the advice you give and it is amazing.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks for reaching out! If you have a specific relationship question, sign up for my weekly emails. You can hit reply to those emails, ask your specific questions, and I’ll consider them as a future topic for a video/article/podcast.

      If you want more personalized guidance, I’m also available as a coach.

      Hope that helps!

      Peace + Love,

  2. Rena says:

    Thanks so much for this video/article. I could not have gotten it at a better time. I am struggling to recover from the removal of an epenymoma tumor from inside my spinal cord in my neck. It has been 1,5 years since the surgery which has left me with numbness from my arm pits down to my feet, but I can still walk and numbness and severe muscle atrophy in my hands and neck. I am still in the angry and why me stages, since this has caused me to become disabled at age 45 and to lose my career of 25 years as a nuclear radiological controls technician at the worlds largest nuclear test reactor, which is in Idaho. I am struggling. Your post came to be for a reason, today, as I am still making choices to sabotage my recovery and healing process. Thank you for an eye opening video and post. I believe this will help me a lot.
    Rena 🙂

    • Rena,

      Thank you SO much for sharing your story.

      You say you’ve “lost your career of 25 years.” Hmmm…. Well, one door closes, another one opens. Let’s focus on WHO YOU ARE and what you CAN do, and not on what you CAN’T do.

      You are NOT what you do. You are NOT your “condition.” Who are YOU – today, in this moment? How do you want to show up in the world?

      You’ve totally got this, Rena. Believe in yourself.

      And remember – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

      Sending Strength + Positivity + LOVE,

      • Rena says:

        Thanks for your comments. I never really thought of my situation that way. I was focusing on my current situation as who I am and I was focusing on what I have lost. I need to turn around and face forward. I need to look for the door that has opened and not focus on the one that has closed. I am still hurt by that door so abruptly slamming in my face. I am angry about it. I need to focus my energy on positive, healthy constructive things.
        Thanks for opening my eyes!
        Rena 🙂

        • Rena,

          Usually, the more abruptly the door slams closed – the more we NEEDED it to be closed for us. Meaning: Things happen for a reason. There is something else out there for you. Chances are, if this door hadn’t been slammed so abruptly, you may never have thought to look elsewhere!

          This is a POSITIVE life change! It means there’s something even more EPIC waiting for your right around the corner. Go look! 🙂

          Peace + Love,

          • Rena says:

            Thanks very much for the wise words. I need to change my persective and see the positive in this and embrace the adventure.

  3. I was honestly expecting to read some boring information that everybody already knows but boy was I wrong! I’m so glad to be let down of my expectation because the tips that you have here are probably the most useful ones I’ve read so far. I can relate to everything you you wrote here, Whenever I get injured I put so much negative thoughts on it and it causes the injury to heal slower if not get worse. I never looked at things like that the way you do and I have to say that I like yours better. I can apply the advice you have here not just on dealing with injuries but also about life in general. What I’m taking from this post is that when you believe in something with all your heart it will eventually happen. Thank you so much!

    Toni Simpson

    • Toni,

      Awesome! I’m so happy you found value in this post. YES: The first step is believing!! And YES: This applies to LIFE – not just chronic injury and pain.

      Sending Peace + Calm,

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