Bike Accidents and the Art of Healing

 

I collided with a car while bike riding 5 weeks ago.  It was technically my fault; I was riding downhill around a blind turn when I realized a garbage truck was in the middle of the road.  Rather than slam on my brakes and risk running into the back of the truck, I decided to go around.  I was greeted with a blue Honda civic slowly going uphill.   The next thing I knew, I was on the ground, with the driver’s side view mirror next to me.  

 

Injuries are frustrating for everyone; I would argue that for active people, injuries are akin to imprisonment.  There is nothing worse than realizing you can’t do the activities you were performing yesterday.  It often feels like your body has let you down.  It can often be difficult to assess the severity of the problem, and you often don’t know until the next day the extent of your limitations.  After two trips to the chiropractor for some soft tissue work and minor adjustments, I finally accepted I was injured and was going to have to cut back on my normal activity level.  Fortunately, self-discipline isn’t something I struggle with.  I iced my back every day and performed strengthening exercises for the core and glutes.  I stretched and foam rolled my psoas and rectus femoris to reduce their hyperactivity.  Once every four or five days I would attempt an updog.  Every time I felt that slight twinge of discomfort in the right side of my low back, I would think to myself, “not today,” and let the yoga go, reminding myself this, too, was temporary.

Being injured requires patience.  Your body needs to heal; otherwise, you risk re-injuring the area and potentially injuring something else.  When one area isn’t working right, it is not uncommon for a surrounding muscle or joint to begin compensating, risking further injury.  For instance, a person who has neck pain frequently ends up with shoulder pain.  While I definitely believe moving the affected joint is necessary to maintain range of motion, limiting the activities that cause pain allows the tissue to heal.  Soft tissue injuries can linger for months if you don’t take the time to reduce inflammation.  Icing, inhibiting the overactive muscles surrounding the area by foam rolling, massage, or ART, stretching, and strengthening the areas that are underactive are effective rehabilitation tools.  If the injured person doesn’t put in the rest and work required to heal the area, it will take much longer for the body to heal, prolonging discomfort.

Four and a half weeks after the initial bike accident I did my first updog without pain; 5 days later, I was able to do my entire yoga practice without any discomfort.  It’s important to listen to your body; you are stuck with it for a long time.

Yours in health and wellness,

Jenn