Injuries with climbing seems to be inherent to the sport. And I can tell…
So here my personal story about all my sports injuries, what I learned from it, and how to move forward into Proper-Loading and Proper-Training, until Super-Compensation (see former blog).
Since I was 6 years young, I have competed and been in selection groups of gymnastics, climbing, horseback riding, skiing and what not. However, this came with a prize. I got 4 whiplashes, 2 elbows which are prone to breaking off cartilage (osteochondritis dissecans, ocd), back, neck and shoulder injuries, and, my mental challenge as an (ex) bipolar sensitive person (see LaviniaWarnars). I can say, I ´collect´ injuries…and therefore, I´m a pretty good experienced expert, not only in mental health, but also in physical health.
I have had countless physio´s, acupuncture treatments, and all kinds of other treatments. The problem with me is that I deal with a couple of issues which makes me prone to injuries:
1. Bipolar & Inflammation: as a bipolar person I seemed to be more sensitive to inflammation and I just figured that out! Meaning, it´s not always my fault. But this problem should be resolved because I´m no longer bipolar.
´A recent review has examined this issue and concluded that yes, there is evidence of both central (brain) and peripheral (body) inflammation when bipolar is present and that alterations in the immune system are critical to the pathophysiology of bipolar. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (short-lived signalling molecules that may even play a role in overtraining as well) have been found and well, this certainly points to inflammation being involved. Of that there is no doubt´ (Body Recompensition, 2020).
´Basically, inflammation in the brain is present in a lot of situations and that often goes hand in hand with inflammation in other parts of the body´ (Body Recompensition, 2020).
2. Mental & Physical Issues: after a mental and/or physical issue, I´m often more sensitive and have to take it easy, which I do…. However, whenever I can, I push myself to get where I left off and I usually just do it too much (Over-Training). Yet, every issue makes me, physically ánd mentally, stronger than before, so I become a better climber as well!
3. Medication: As I´m taking medication for my bipolar disorder since 2012, I have more injuries and lower muscle and joint recovery and/or strength. There is hardly any research done on this, but my theory is that since the medication surpresses your mood and neurotransmitters in your brain, it also surpresses other issues. Therefore I have been struggling with my meds since the start, not only because it lowers my mood and energy, but more importantly, my sports endurance and performance. Almost a decade-long battle, which I aim to win at some point.
4. Overload, Overtraining and Risks: As said, I often just push myself a bit too much… maybe you can relate? I just want to get back to my level again, and after 20 years of injuries ´taking it easy´ is just no longer an option. However, down below I have a solution to that: instead of Over-Training and Over-Loading, I introduce: Proper-Training and Proper-Loading.
5. Undereating (vs Overeating): I used to not eat at all, or barely and badly. This added to my cartillage sensitivity and overall weakness in muscles and bones. Overeating can have similar effects, just that your body is too heavy for you to train, therefore increasing risk of injuries. Luckily, I eat very healthy these days, so recipes, advise and a blog will soon come online as well (Get Your Fix, 2020).
6. Pain levels: my last problem is that I often don´t feel pain, unless it is really severe. For instance, a regular person has a pain level of 0 to 10. I have a scale from 0 to 20! So, if I experience pain of let´s say 20, someone else would black out by 11. Something to do with a lot of experience with pain regulation, too many injuries, mental strength (my mental challenge made me a lot stronger too) and being redheaded:
´At any rate, redheads exhibit a number of intriguing features. They feel more pain but are also more resistant to some types of pain, they are resistant to some conditions are more at risk from others.´ (Andrei, 2020).
I do however intervene on time these days, so it doesn’t become too serious> I learned that from my physio´s and myself: to step in, zoom out, and put myself to a halt when I feel it is too much. That is why my latest injury (left elbow) didn’t evolve too seriously luckily. A win for me!
And in my view, a weak spot needs to be triggered enough in order to heal properly. After all, sometimes a doctor needs to re-break a bone in order for it to recover properly, right? (Wentworth, 2013). And as the Japanese saying goes: you should heal the broken pieces with gold, so it becomes more beautiful and stronger than before (Kintsukuroi) (see picture, Vikramkamboj, 2020).
As you can see, sometimes it is not even my own fault, but it is my responsibility to deal with it properly, heal myself and work on getting better and stronger. So, that is the task ahead for me and my physio: to take care of my loadability vs (over)load, and training vs overtraining. As well as to not only treat the injury and recover from it, but more importantly: to prevent injuries in the future by loading properly, wisely, and effectively during physio exercises, ánd climbing. So, it is not about Over-Loading and Over-Training, but about Proper-Loading and Proper-Training, until the Magic happens: Super-Compensation (see former blog)!
Therefore, climbing has to wait for a couple of months because I first need to learn to use my muscles, joints and overall physique in a proper way since I apparently don´t know how to do that due to all my injuries. So now, I just focus on my condition, muscle & joint usage, strength, endurance, mobility and flexibility.
But, in order to get up every morning, I set myself a new goal to train for running 42 km (a marathon, doesn´t have to be a competition) by January 31: to stay active, train my endurance and develop a more patient, stable and controlled way of training, living and climbing.
Of course this new goal and training will translate into coaching my future clients as best as possible. Since, as much as I can help myself, I can help, support and train others.
And how do you deal with Injuries?...
The next blog is going to be about ´Goals and Performance´. So, stay tuned…
Andrei, M. (July, 19, 2020). Redheads do feel more pain- and they´re tougher than anyone else. On: https://www.zmescience.com/science/redheads-feel-more-pain-20092017/
Body Recomposition. (2020). On: https://bodyrecomposition.com/bipolar/bipolar-inflammation
Get Your Fix. (2020: On: https://getyourfixpt.com/2019/03/under-eating-may-be-contributing-to-your-injuries/
Vikramkamboj. (2020). Kintsukuroi. On: https://vikramkamboj.com/2015/12/kintsukuroi-the-japanese-art-of-embracing-broken-and-flawed-things/
Wentworth, K. (2013). Why would a doctor need to re-break your bone? On: https://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Would-A-Doctor-Need-To-Re-Break-Your-Bone?&id=7482233