When it comes to mind recovery from injury, I believe that it is as much about the mind as the body. Alternative and holistic are not always terms used with physiotherapy. I break that mould a little bit as I believe that without treating the mind, the body will never enjoy full recovery from injury. Now those down at physiotherapy towers will probably be tripping over their exercise bands at this point, but rest assured this article will not be all josticks and incense!

Can thought help recovery from injury?

The mind is incredibly powerful. I’m sure each and every one of you will at some point have been negative about a situation. This then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The same goes with recovery from injury. The patients that have the greatest success with physiotherapy are those that know their body. They know their limits, but ultimately understand that they will get better. The ones that don’t do so well are those that are anxious. These people make pain the centre of their universe.


Recovery from injury is a matter of belief

Believing that you won’t ever achieve recovery from injury actually triggers chemical responses in the brain and hey presto you’ll probably never recover! The internet plays a massive role in a patient’s negativity. Inputting your symptoms will invariably tell you the worst case scenario and reinforce the negativity of pain.

Ever heard one of those far fetched stories about people lifting cars off of kids? This is down to the mind as well. How else can you explain the extraordinary super human strength? Stress in any form triggers the fight or flight response in our bodies. This involves the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates things such as blood pressure and heart rate. It also releases hormones such as adrenaline.

Short, super human bursts of strength

In short bursts this response enables these superhuman efforts; however, in long stretches it is derogatory to our bodies functions. Blood pressure and blood sugar become elevated and the immune system becomes suppressed. Digestion is disrupted as blood flow is directed away from the organs to the muscles to enable us to run away! Ultimately we can control this by taking some time to relax.

physical injury from a psychological point of view  - meditation girl

Relax you say? Yes relax. Let that mind of yours actually clear. Take some deep breaths and just be, just for a moment. Do it now – two really deep breaths. Feel better? Good! Just think about the effect of those two small breaths and consider thinking differently when you next have an ache or pain. Do not immediately go to the search engine and decide that your arm needs to be amputated. Take a moment, take a breath, and think positive thoughts. This kind of approach is called mindfulness – in effect mind over matter – and was first founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. The idea is simple; take time for you.

Meditating for recovery from injury

Now this could be the two breaths I got you to do just now. This could be some contemplation or a formal meditation session. There are actually a few apps for your mobile phone that can prompt you to facilitate this mindfulness process – a little contradictory as the mobile phone could well be one of your stressors but effective none the less!

So like I said I love the mind as an aid to recovery from injury and I consider it my most powerful tool.


(image credit: hypnosiscenter, yoga)

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