The Stages to Overcoming an Injury

KT Tape is here to help you get through sports injuries and pain, but it's important to remember that there is a mental element to recovery as well as a physical element.  KT Tape-brand kinesiology therapeutic athletic tape coupled with a strong and healthy mindset can help power you through an injury faster and more effectively than if you only treat the physical problem.  When you're injured, it’s important to recognize your injury for what it is and deal with it properly.  Read this article from Runner’s World writer Mackenzie Lobby on the stages to overcoming an injury: For many of us, sports are like a best friend. We count on it to quiet our anxieties, focus our minds, and make us happier, healthier, and saner. So what happens when injury strikes and takes away our trusted ally? We curse, we pout, we may even cry and scream. Sound excessive or irrational? It's not—in fact, experts say experiencing these emotions is normal and healthy. "The sense of loss an athlete feels when injured can be very similar to the other types of mourning or grief that occur in our lives," says Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and a leading researcher of injury psychology. "It's a huge sense of loss that you feel." In order to deal with this pain and frustration—and move on to recovery—Wiese-Bjornstal recommends sidelined athletes adopt a specific grieving strategy. It may sound familiar—it's what you'd go through if you lost a job or a pet. And if you've been injured before, you've probably stumbled through it unknowingly. The key is taking a purposeful approach. If you can recognize each stage of mourning, and work actively to move through each one, you'll heal faster. And that means you'll be back on your feet sooner. The Stage: DENIAL Athletes often play this game of Russian roulette—limping through workouts, disregarding red flags. Getting stuck here is dangerous. "By denying you're injured, you can exacerbate the injury," says Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychology consultant and sub-three-hour marathoner in San Francisco. "What was once a minor tweak could turn into a major injury." Listen to your body. At the first sign of a potential injury, be smart and back off. A few days on the couch is better than months of physical therapy. The Stage: ANGER Not being able to  work out as hard as you are used to—or at all—can be disappointing, even devastating. It's this sense of injustice that triggers anger. "You feel betrayed by your body, your training, the universe," Taylor says.  A positive outlook—as hard as that may be to summon—may be your greatest weapon. Research reports that athletes who use positive self-talk and set goals for their rehab experience "exceptional recovery." So be angry for a few days, then look forward. Set rehab goals so you can celebrate small successes. If your therapy program includes planks, aim to hold the position for 15, then 30, then 60 seconds. When you reach each goal, recognize the achievement. The Stage: BARGAINING When injured athletes finally confront their injury, they sometimes become too gung-ho. "You think, I'll do more rehab, more often, more reps, more weights, and then I'll get back to running sooner," Wiese-Bjornstal says. "But more isn't always better.”  Taking action to fix your problem is good, but don't go overboard. "You can't microwave healing," Taylor says. "You have to slow bake it." Obey your rehab prescription the same way you would a training program. (You wouldn't do three long runs in one week, would you?) "If rehab goes well, you can come back a better athlete," Taylor says. "Don't jeopardize that ultimate goal." The Stage: DEPRESSION Wiese-Bjornstal's research shows that athletes with severe injuries that require long amounts of downtime are likely to linger in this stage. The enthusiasm you initially had for your rehab routine fades.  Fill your newfound downtime with other activities that help fill the void. Schedule time consuming sports you enjoy but can't fit in when you're training—as long as they don't exacerbate your injury—golf, say, or leisurely bike tours. Stay connected to your athletic community. The Stage: ACCEPTANCE "This is when you are properly sticking with your rehab plan and you're seeing progress," Taylor says. You've accepted the injury, and also that you'll eventually be back on your feet. Coming to this mindset is critical to recovery. Research shows a direct relationship between stress and injury. Anxiety can cause muscle tension and suppress immune function, which can delay how quickly you get better. In this stage, you have a peaceful mindset that encourages healing. Read more about the benefits of KT Tape kinesiology therapeutic tape by visiting our website here.  You can also see how to apply KT Tape to affected injuries to help your healing process with our online video instructions.  For professional KT Tape application and evaluation on how KT Tape can help your sports injury find a KT Tape professional here. Happy Healing!