It took me a while to admit to myself that the pain I was having in my right shoulder was not going to go away on it’s own. The self dialogue of “I am just a little sore—it’s probably nothing—it’s not that bad—etcetera—etcetera” is probably somewhat familiar to most of us who use of bodies for athletic purposes. When we start ignoring our body’s warning signals such as persistent soreness and unexplainable fatigue, we unintentially set the stage for more serious problems like reoccurring injuries and longterm or chronic pain. So how can we enjoy our activities and use of bodies effectively without getting injured? These are some of the things we have learned along the way.
I went to see an acupuncturist for my inured shoulder and when she asked how much water I drink daily, I exclaimed “Oh, I drink A TON of water, that’s not a problem for me”. She told me that my 2 litres per day was not adequate because of my coffee consumption (2 coffees a day) & occasional post-surf brews (both actually dehydrate your body). Hydration is one of the most important factors when it comes to staying injury free because water lubricates our joints, muscles and inhibits inflammation. Dehydration can contribute to muscle injury and our bodies need water to repair and recover. I now aim for 3+ litres per day.
This is a tough one for me, especially when it comes to surfing. If the conditions are good, I get in the water everyday. Prior to my shoulder injury, I was surfing every single day for 2 hours or more. I didn’t realize that this can cause injuries until I was told by my massage therapist. Our bodies need rest to repair our muscles after working them and without this opportunity, repetitive strain can occur. I have been taking a rest day once a week and my shoulder has noticeably improved.
No matter what activities we do, our bodies require maintenance. Massage therapy, acupuncture, stretching, and physio therapy are highly beneficial to almost anyone who works out, does an extreme sport or spends a lot of time sitting at a desk. It’s great to try out different techniques and different practitioners to see what works for you.
Listening to your Body
Our bodies are pretty good at telling us something isn’t right, however many of us are guilty of ignoring these indicators and “pushing through”. Ignoring pain signals can increase the seriousness of an existing injury or cause a new one. When something doesn’t feel right, seek help and deal with it right away. Health professionals are our friends and often they have seen our problems before and have a course of action to help you get better.
Writing by: Kaitlyn Shea
Photos 2,3,4: Kaitlyn Shea
Photo 5: Carive Productions