Create Your Own Reality: Pain & Injury Management

It’s 3:30 am.  The screaming pain in my left foot has kept me up all night. While trying a “strapless aerial” (catching air on a strapless surfboard) the edge of the board hit the side of my foot.  I’m still at the stage where I can catch the big air but then its board & body parts flying everywhere.   I remember thinking, “That’s gonna bruise”.

It didn’t start hurting till about 10pm when I was trying to go to sleep.  It bugged me enough that I dragged myself out of bed to get an ice pack.  At that point I could still put weight on it. The pain kept building and building until all I could hear was the pain.  I got up again to get pillows for elevation & a bandage for compression. This time it wouldn’t take any weight.

I had an injury like this when I was just learning kiteboarding.  Similar scenario.  The board hit my foot (only that time it was because my board and I were tumbling through a wave together). It didn’t hurt until later in the evening then suddenly the pain was all consuming and I couldn’t put any weight on it.  That time I went to urgent care.  The doctor freaked me out, saying it could be “turf toe” which is really serious. He referred me to a specialist and gave me strict orders for zero weight on it until then.  The specialist said I was fine.  It was just a serious contusion, but the body sends the powerful pain messages to make sure you stay off it to prevent more serious injury.

Ice, elevation and compression are doing nothing. I just want to cry.  I want to call someone for a pity party, but everyone’s asleep. Then I remember the times I healed my bruised ribs in 20 minutes and a blistery burn overnight based on Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief.
I stop the pity party and remember to ask, “Is that sensation pain or my cells busily repairing the damage?”  In this case it’s both.  Pain to make me stop so my cells can do their job.  Still I couldn’t  get the pain in check.  I sang my little song about my cells being healthy & well 10x.  It’s a silly little song and it is crazy how well it works.  Interrupts and redirects the neural net from being dominated by the pain to an incompatible and more effective thought.  Pretty soon the consuming fog of pain began to  differentiate.

I could feel the sharpness where the board hit. I focused in on that and shifted into gratitude that our bodies are so amazing that we can heal like we do.  My whole body relaxed.  I hadn’t realized how tense it was from the pain.  In a few minutes that area settled down into a gentle throb. I could see the rebuilding happening.

Then I realized the tendons on the front of my foot were hurting.  They hurt to the touch.  I had a pretty wild day out on the water, it’s very possible I have two injuries.  The water is so cold that it’s not uncommon for not to feel anything until later.  I moved the compression from focused on the contusion to focused on this spot.  Wow, that settled things right down. Right now I have a quiet dull ache and I can feel microscopic movement.  I’m deciding that’s the sensation of those cells busily repairing the damage.  Like road crews working through the night under bright lights piercing the darkness  to handle an unexpected crisis so the road will be ready for people to get about their day in the morning.

Now hopefully….sleep.

The Following Morning:

Despite having been up until 4am I woke up at 7:45.  After borrowing some crutches and having a cup of decaf with a friend who offering sympathy I passed out on the couch.  The rest of the day I rested really, really hard, getting up only for fresh ice packs and more water.  Remember, when your body is healing weather it be illness or injury one of the best things you can do for it is stay hydrated with simple water.  It is so key for cellular clean up. Throughout the day I took a moment to picture my cells busily and happily repairing the damage (picture a Disney style cheerful work song animation number)  Suddenly at 5:15 it took a turn for the better.  I could put weight on it.  It hurt to walk.  It wasn’t quite the 20 minute healing I did with the bruised ribs, but still to go from screaming pain to able to walk on it in less than 24 hours? That’s still pretty good.

Day 2:

I can do a full rotation of my ankle, the impact spot is  tender to the touch and still has the scratch marks where something, maybe the fin? hit. Zero pain to walk. When I returned the crutches today my friend teased me that I had been faking the whole time.  Believe me, that pain and swelling were real! We just have more influence on our pace of healing than most people realize.  Aren’t our bodies and their ability to self-heal wondrous things?

Pain and dis-ease is our body’s effort to communicate with us.  To let us know something is wrong.  Our cells are wise. They know just what they need to heal.  The problem is we so often mis interpret pain as something to be eliminated instead of understood.  All those discomforts are the cells’ attempts to communicate a need – whether it be to rest, to drink more water, to eat real foods.  Sadly, so often instead of daring to sit with the pain long enough to find out what our cells need, we run to a bottle to numb the pain and silence the message.

Note: This image is of a different kiteboarding foot injury. It was just such a pretty shade of pink.