I've helped treat people of all ages for injuries of all kinds, and the same thing always seems to help them overcome their hurdles: Understanding.
Injury management made easy
While working at a private sports Physiotherapy clinic in Melbourne, a woman came to me with shoulder impingement and an x-ray report. She spoke with an Italian accent but had no problem understanding English. What she didn't understand was her doctors. They had told her she was getting surgery on her shoulder, but she wasn't exactly sure why. When she'd asked, they'd referred her to a nurse who said she didn't know as she'd walked quickly away to see another patient.
Bewildered and frustrated, she'd been referred to me, and our entire first 40 minute session was spent explaining her injury, explaining the x-ray report, and helping her understand her condition. I underlined words on the report and re-wrote them. Scapula became shoulder blade, clavicle became collar bone, acromium became hook of the shoulder (that's a terribly rough translation!) and bursa became little pillow.
Like any translation from one language to another, some accuracies get lost along the way, but the most important thing is to create understanding.
Injury recovery demystified
You don't have to be able to read an x-ray report to understand your injury, but you do need a support team. Recently I was honoured to be a guest on the popular US podcast Wellness Force by the charming Josh Trent, and we discussed the importance of a good health professional and community in injury recovery. A good Physiotherapist will explain your injury to you, and change what was a confusing, intimidating condition into a manageable issue.
Many health-professionals, like stockbrokers, bank on the fact you don't understand what they're talking about. Take back control and speak up!
Join a community rehab program, sign up for a rehabilitation class at your gym, or even jump online and find an injury forum. The internet has brought everyone closer together, and there are likely so many people who have experienced what you're going through.
You don't have to live through your rehabilitation or injury alone. Find a good health professional, support forum and ask as many questions as you need to ask. Please though, don't Google your questions. You might end up scaring yourself senseless, thinking you have an injury that sounds just like yours but isn't quite the same. Ask a health professional in-person! It will make all the difference to your recovery, and help you gain solid understanding of your injury and your path to recovery.
The importance of patient education
For the health professionals out there, please don't forget patient education. Clever people like David Butler and Lorimer Moseley, the authors of Explain Pain, have found the overwhelming positive influence of patient education. Every patients wants to know what's really going on with them, and it's hard to remember they don't speak anatomy. Taking the time to educate your patients can help them recovery quicker, helping make you look like a star!