Remaining Active While You’re Injured

Or in chronic pain that limits your movements. Rest if you must but don’t get complacent. I have three movement principles I follow – injured or not – they are; exercising pain-free range of motion throughout your joints – all your joints not just the affected one – diaphragmatic breathing and mindful activation of your core muscles.

I’ll use myself as an example.

Injury/discomfort: bum knee exhibiting swelling, decreased range of motion, instability, history of torn meniscus.

Pain management;  exercise, stretching, breathing, music!

My full body range of motion routine;

I begin at the top of a sun salutation

basically standing tall, reaching arms over head but without over stretching (focus: cervical spine/shoulders/breath/sinking heels, connecting with earth). I do this by making sure I’m anchoring my ribs, not letting them protrude in front of my nose.

As I exhale I bring my arms in front of me

I move into a forward bend. Focus on anchoring my heels, bending/flexing from the hip-joint and allowing my knees to soften to reduce strain on them. I grasp my elbows with the opposite hand and let the weight of my skull and rib cage decompress my spine as gravity does its job. I stay here for three deep breaths or for as long as it feels good (focus: spinal decompression, posterior body stretch).

On my next inhale

I place my hands on the ground and align my body into an inverted V for downward facing dog. Pushing the palm of my hands and heels or balls of feet (depending how flexible I am at the moment) into the floor.

Before the next movement

I focus on my core and brace my abdomen. Specifically,  my focus is on the transverse abdominis, the muscle that acts like a corset on our inner abdominal muscles (place your hand firmly on your mid-section and cough a few times… woop there it is).

My next movement is walking my arms forward until I reach a plank position

hold 20 seconds, then hand walk back to downward facing dog position. I repeat the plank/downward dog cycle once more and reverse the steps all the way back to sun salutation. Here I take a few minutes to focus on the depth and pace of my breath, counting at least five stress-relieving life-giving breaths. I could feel all those fight hormones decreasing and the flight soothing me over.

Aah – stand tall, breathe deep!

Best in health,

Corina

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