Pain and Injury, Part of the Process
I wish it weren’t true. No matter how careful I seem to be during training and fitness events, injuries happen. I’m realizing that injury, injury recovery and monitoring pain are part of the process. Physical health and fitness are not accomplishments as much as they are disciplines incorporated in a lifestyle. Injury assessment and recovery are part of that lifestyle process.
It is true that careless and reckless behavior accounts for most fitness injuries. I was inspired by barefoot running testimonies on the internet and decided to run a mile on the treadmill in socks. The strain to my calf muscle left my fitness routines thrown off for two weeks. Or the times I neglect to trim my toenails before long runs and find afterward my socks bloody from the cuts on my toes from sharp toenail edges. But, even being careful injuries still seem to happen and recovery just simply takes time. Sometimes recovery can be aided with appropriate treatment but it still takes time. I’ve found if I try to rush recovery I can actually prolong the injury and recovery time.
Injuries and recovery are a complex interplay of my body, my brain, and motivation. I am learning to listen and read body sensations of discomfort and pain, then interpret their meaning, all the while trying to make adjustments in goals and maintain motivation to keep going. It can all be downright overwhelming. I’m constantly being reminded to be flexible and relax. To take advantage of what I can do and be careful not to add more injury to existing injuries.
These insights about managing injury and recovery might apply to a marriage relationship. Stuff happens; even on my best day I can be insensitive, unaware and as a result say or do something which injures my marital relationship. Part of what makes these sometimes small injuries compounded is my dismissal and neglect of them. Just as with my physical body, an injury ignored and neglected is greater injury about to develop. I can see in my marriage how critical it is to take nothing for granted and be careful not to assume that just because something is, “no big deal” to me, it should not be a big deal to my wife Mary Jo. Sensitive open communication on expectations, disappointments, offenses, and desires goes a long way to healing minor relationship irritations and injuries, preventing more significant injury due to neglect.
Major relationship wounds, like physical wounds, need attention, i.e. “treatment” and time to heal. Just as with a major physical injury adjustments in goals and expectations are needed, adjustments in goals and expectations are needed with relationship injuries. Patience, flexibility, generous amounts of forgiveness, grace and understanding go a long way to healing major relationship injuries.
Persistent physical injuries often need the care and attention of a medical professional. I’m currently seeking guidance about some persistent low back pain which interrupts and interferes with my training. I really should have sought professional help sooner. I kept thinking the injury would resolve itself. Nine months of discomfort should be enough to convince me I need medical attention. I’ve often thought how many couples come to our Marriage Intensive programs having delayed attention to persistent relationship injuries which could have been cared for and set on a path of healing if couples had sought our assistance earlier. If your marriage is suffering from persistent injury and lack of healing don’t be like me with my low back pain. Explore your options for professional help from a professional counselor/therapist in your area. Or, give us a call (417-335-5882 or 1-800-A FAMILY) and learn more about our Marriage Intensive programs. We here at FOTF’s National Institute of Marriage want to be a resource to you. Your marriage relational health and fitness is just as important as your physical health and fitness.
God Bless You in your efforts to have a great marriage. I hope you are making progress on your fitness goals too! Leave a comment on this blog, or suggestions about future blogs. Check out our website at nationalmarriage.com.
Dr. Bob Burbee
Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
Focus on the Family’s
National Institute of Marriage