Using Your Vacation to Learn About Your Injuries

Vacations are awesome. I went to Revelstoke last week to snowboard and had an amazing time.  I have returned in one piece and am back to the reality of a full time job.  I must say, although it is nice to get away (and enjoy the powder snow of Revelstoke BC) it is really nice to get home.  Obviously, there are a huge number of reasons why vacations are good for you but for this weeks blog I’m going to touch on the benefits from a physical injury perspective.  I’ll start with my own personal realization…

As many of my patients know, I have a “bad” knee.  I injured it playing soccer many years ago and it does cause me to limp from time to time.  I treat it regularly (using active release, graston and laser) and I choose activities that will strengthen it while not aggravating it. For the most part this means mountain biking.  Obviously the sport of snowboarding should be expected to aggravate my knee.  My injured knee is my front leg snowboarding, which requires holding the board on the chairlift and lots of twisting when the back leg is unbuckled.  Surprisingly, after six days of riding big mountains in British Columbia my knee didn’t hurt one bit!  Unfortunately, a week later and after a few full days of running around the clinic my knee is really sore!

Vacations can sometimes be an eye-opening break from the physical demands that we regularly place on our bodies.  My experience has caused me to re-evaluate my footwear at the clinic. Along with a new pair of orthotics, I’ve chosen a new shoe that will offer me the appropriate amount of cushioning under a neutral platform for the orthotic.  I’ll also get back to my regular treatment and hopefully try and rest the joint whenever I can during the day.

The point of this blog is to remind all of us to look for these insights into our physical injuries.  Does your neck pain feel worse on vacation?  Perhaps this is due to a different pillow.  Does your neck pain feel better?  Perhaps all those hours of sitting at your computer is causing your neck pain.  Maybe your lower back feels better because you’re walking more (on the beach) instead of sitting on your couch in the evening. Whatever it may be, the take home message is to use your vacation as an opportunity to learn about and realize the different factors that are related to your injury.  Do you feel better?  Do you feel worse?  What is different about your diet, your sleep and the physical demands placed on your body?  Use your vacation to learn about your injuries and perhaps it can assist your healthcare practitioner in making new recommendations for your recovery.

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