Today I’m going to be talking to you about injury mindset. An injury could mean anything from a regular ache and pain that you have, regular stiffness, or a full-blown thing which knocks you off your feet. This includes; a knee injury when you’re running and it’s stopping you from training, back pain that is stopping you from working or gardening or just generally feeling uncomfortable during the day.
We’re talking about anything in your body that feels uncomfortable or doesn’t feel the way that you feel like it should or used to. The number of us who have these experiences are so high, so you are not alone.
Trust me, I know it can feel sometimes like our body is breaking and it must just be us. We must have done something wrong or we must be broken and weak. The truth is that having discomfort or pain is vastly more common than those who don’t. So welcome to the club.
I’ll tell you a little bit more about my story. I’ve had loads of injuries.
I am hyper mobile and this doesn’t mean that you’re bendy, it doesn’t mean that you’re the best in your class, or that you can do the splits or all these sorts of contortion positions. What it means is that the cells in your body have got a funny way of telling where they are in space so they might think they’re doing something but they’re not, they’re doing something completely different.
It also means that the tissue which holds you together is a little bit slacker, which means that your joints move through a bigger range. About 70-80% of the clients that I have worked with over the past five years have had that experience and as a result, we tend to get injured a little bit more often than those who have ‘normal’ joints.
I have sprained my ankles more times than I can tell you, I have sprained both in one day, falling down the stairs in the morning, and then falling off a curb in the afternoon. I had two bulging discs in my back. I’ve got bendy elbows, so I’ve had stuff going on in the ligaments and tendons in my elbows.
At times, when you have these things happen, particularly even more serious ones like the discs, it can really throw you, and it can make you feel broken. It can make you feel like you’re weak and damaged. It also can put you off doing anything about it and make you feel powerless, and that’s a shitty feeling.
So I’m here today to help you move through that feeling, to help you move into a place where you feel like you have some control over what happens to or for you, so that you can take some action and get yourself to where you want to be.
A lot of us have been to see therapists when we have these experiences, we may go see a physio, chiropractor or osteopath. We’ve all tried lots of different things to get to where we want to be, which is out of pain, feeling stronger and feeling back in control again. Lots of these people are absolutely amazing. They do a great job, but unfortunately on the other side, some of them aren’t.
What The Warrior Programme is about is doing things in a way that is honest, that is truthful, and that is real, and ultimately giving you the tools to get to where you want to be, rather than making you stay with us forever.
We’ve had lots of clients that we’ve worked with over time, who have formed beliefs that they’re wonky, they’re damaged, broken, their back is fucked, their hips are wonky. All sorts of language which I would consider to be negative and this is not going to make you feel like yes, I can do this, I can fix this. This language instead, makes you feel like you just are in this situation and that’s where you stay for good. Nothing changes. Nothing gets better, you might make it a little bit better, but you certainly won’t fix it, you certainly won’t cure it. The rest of your life is limited because of this, you’re never going to be strong, you’re never going to be able to do certain things you just have to work on coping with it. Taking painkillers and buying straps.
All of that is not true and a lot of the time, what that does is bind you to that professional, because you become dependent on them for that hands-on relief. You become dependent on them to fix you.
That is not the way the human body is designed to run, our bodies are amazing. They’re great at adapting to pain, which can be a bit of a bastard because it means you end up moving in a funny way if you’re in pain, which then can create more pain.
Our bodies can heal themselves, given the right tools, given the right little tips and tricks, they can do it themselves.
There are very few people that need to go and see wellbeing professionals to manage their pain with their hands, every single week. Yes, if you’ve got some you know something really big, or you’re in the middle of a first time of coming into a period of injury or pain or you’ve got you’ve got a more of an endemic thing that’s been going on for a long time, then perhaps you might need more regular help from somebody. But if you are someone who works at a desk who has back, neck, knee, hip, shoulder pain, you are very unlikely to need to see somebody very regularly, to bring you out of pain with their hands.
We all need to be told the truth of what’s going on, but using empowering language so we can do something about it. Phrases like ‘hanging by a thread’, ‘zero muscle’, ‘you don’t have any hamstrings’’ are rarely the truth.
Okay sure your hamstrings might not be firing the way they should be. You might benefit from having some more hamstring muscle built, but you’ve got hamstrings. You’ve definitely got them there because if you didn’t you won’t be standing up!
It’s just all those little things which might seem more like conversational hyperbole to begin with, but repeated by somebody in a position of authority, somebody who’s in a wellbeing role, you’re going to start believing them. If you start to believe you’re weak or that you’re broken, you will act like you’re weak or broken, you won’t feel able to do things that some of us consider to be really basic, the standards for what you expect from your body will drop, and they will keep dropping because then the age narrative will jump in and you’ll believe I’m over 30 now, so things are just going to go downhill.
What if you didn’t believe those things?
What if instead, you believed that the only inevitable thing with living in a human body is that you will die one day?
What if it is not inevitable that your body is going to decline, and that you are going to experience X, Y and Z as you reach certain ages, or if you don’t have to accept the hitting 40 means that you’re going to be in pain or hitting 50 means you’ve got to stop weightlifting, what have you don’t have to believe those societal constructs things that we’ve made up.
What if you could believe a different thing for yourself?
You have a choice as to as to whose advice and opinions you take into yourself. People are going to talk about you till the end of time. People are always going to say stuff, it doesn’t mean you have to believe it. You have a choice as to whose language you take into your system and allow to determine who you are as a person, or what your body’s like or how you function. If someone says something which doesn’t feel right to you. Then don’t take it in.
Redeveloping that connection with gut instinct is so important to us in the modern day. We’re so disconnected from it. And that’s no one’s fault, that’s just kind of how we do it. It’s certainly how I’ve done it for years, until realizing that was something I wanted and needed to reconnect with. Professionals get it wrong; we all get it wrong. If you don’t think the diagnosis you’re being given, or the words that are being used are accurate for you, then question it.
If words are being used and you don’t understand them, this can be disempowering. To use ‘big words’ that aren’t layman’s terms, or to explain things quickly, or hardly at all or as if it’s an irritation, that’s not okay. You have a right to leave that appointment, know what’s going on and what it means for you and what you must do next, other than book your next appointment.
To this day I have never spoken to a client who had been to see a physio, osteo or chiropractor and is able to answer the question of specifically what’s going on for them. Either it wasn’t explained or they didn’t understand and didn’t feel they could ask questions. They didn’t have the chance to have that power, someone else decided they don’t need to know, or I’ll fix it, or it’s not important. I haven’t got time; I’ve got another patient to see. That not good enough.
You’re in charge. You have the choice, whether that’s about the words that people use to describe you, who you see and how you speak to yourself. You’re the person whose words, you hear most.
It’s not easy. If you’ve been told, or even telling yourself for a long time that your back’s just bad and that’s the end of it, then it’s going to be challenging to pick up on those phrases that you tell yourself, or the ways you let it hold you back or stop you from taking action and turning them into a positive.
If you’re in a place of believing, I haven’t got any money. I can’t afford it. I haven’t got any time – where does that leave you? Often it leaves you powerless to act.
What if instead you could flip those beliefs around to be okay well that’s painful right now. I’m in a place where I’m not that comfortable. I’m in a place where I feel vulnerable. I feel out of control and this is this is not comfortable for me. Yeah, I don’t have millions at my disposal. But when I find the right solution that I feel is going to help me get to where I want to be. Then I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there, including making the time and making the money or finding the money, because I’m worth it. Because if I don’t. It’s not going to get better by itself, it’s not just going to go away.
We’re going to make that decision that we matter, and that there is better out there for us, we can experience better. I’m going to think of myself as a work in progress. I’m going to get stronger. I’m going to take back control. I’m going to gain understanding of what’s going on for me. The things that I really want, whether that is just to get out of pain or to get your first pull up to lift your body weight off the floor, to age with as much grace as possible, to get stronger or get better posture, all those things are out there for me.
All of them. I just have to get past these mental blocks that are in my way (which by the way, everybody has) and this really divides us as to who is prepared to do mental work to get past the blocks which sort of get into things they want.
If this resonates with you, I would really encourage you to take action on it now. Like right this minute. Reach out to somebody, do a Google Search, block out in your diary the time that you are going to spend on the stuff, because then you’ll do it. Whereas if you kind of keep in the back of your mind with the most wonderful intentions then things will jump in the way, life will get in the way, you’ll forget and it won’t happen. And then you might find yourself listening to this podcast again in a year’s time thinking shit I’ve wasted a year.