Factors Affecting Recovery
Aside from physical healing and rehabilitation, there are other factors that can impact the healing process for your condition or injury. Here is some information which may change how you deal with treatment.
Many practitioners are moving away from “just rest” when someone comes in with an injury. Instead, we seek to modify your daily activity, sport, leisure activity etc to be pain free and allow you to keep moving that injured area. It is important that while you are on the mend to find activities that you still enjoy and can perform pain free. Not only will this put you in a better mood and give you some continuity to your schedule, but exercise can give you analgesic effects and will get your blood flowing more than a massage alone.
In a study on lower back pain, it was found that patients in a positive mood reported less pain in comparison to patients who were in a negative mood when both were asked to perform the same task of holding a heavy bag, which would aggravate their low back pain.
Taking charge of your care also makes a difference. For chronic pain patients, those who rely on external factors like luck or those that rely solely on their therapists without any engagement, are more likely to show depression or anxiety and found it hard to control their pain. Talk to your therapists and understand your situation. Find out how you can take steps to help the process along. Even though you can’t physically put a muscle or ligament back together, there are controllable factors like getting more sleep that can help.
Know that rehab and healing is often full of ups and downs. Many of my patients tell me that is the most frustrating part. Try and keep your daily routine as close as possible to the usual and make adaptations as necessary to keep doing what you like. You are the most important person in your recovery and have the ability to decide your mindset and motivation level, both of which will impact how you perceive pain and how you progress on.
Crisson, J. Keefe, J. (1988). The relationship of locus of control to pain coping strategies and psychological distress in chronic pain patients. Pain, 35(2), pp 147-154. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3959(88)90222-9
Tang, NK et al. (2008). Effects of mood on pain responses and pain tolerance: an experimental study in chronic back pain patients. Pain, 128(2), pp 392-401. Doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2008.01.018