Updated: May 4
We’ve probably all experienced at least a handful of injuries in our lifetime, minor or major; these inconveniences have the potential to stop us playing sport, working, doing daily activities and being able to enjoy the things we typically relish. But sadly, they are an almost unavoidable part of being an active human being. The obvious path to recovery is seeking physical rehabilitation and injury treatment, however the inconspicuous partner in healing is largely undiscussed and ignored, that being mental rehabilitation.
As a culture we are becoming increasingly more open and honest about our mental health thanks to dedicated organisations and charities, healthcare professionals and public figures helping reduce the stigma surrounding it. On top of this, links between positive mental health and positive physical health have been proven; they are not isolated, instead working together to support our overall wellbeing. However, when considering physical rehabilitation the mental journey taken along side to recovery is still largely ignored.
With mental rehabilitation we refer to situations such as:
returning to usual activities after a long injury,
facing recovery of a long term injury,
anxiety after an injury,
cancelling an event due to injury,
fear of reinjury,
and these are just a short list of examples.
Rehabilitation is not just about supporting individuals back to sport and daily activities, but also mentally preparing them for their return. Studies on athletes have found that those returning from injury are more likely to get injured again; but following a carefully tailored rehabilitation plan and having regular sports massage treatments can reduce the risk of reinjury and can even result in increased awareness and performance. And this isn’t purely from the anatomical side. It can also be psychological barriers we put up that prevent us from fully committing to an action we now deem a greater risk than we previously did, such as a rugby tackle or picking up a heavy toddler.