NJURY. The very word strikes fear into the heart of every aerialist and aerialist-in-the-making. Pain, hospitals, loss of strength and endurance, depression, falling behind our peers, losing hard earned skills, these are just some of the fears we must confront when faced with a debilitating injury. This week has been quite traumatic for us here at Womack and Bowman. First, Brett injured his rib while performing on Dance Trapeze at our resident weekly gig in downtown Los Angeles last Friday night. It took him a few hours to notice as the adrenaline was flowing and he was due to catch a plane to the Dominican Republic in a few hours where he would be teaching aerial workshops. After barely making his red eye, he spent the next 9 days rehabbing and visiting medical professionals during his down time at the retreat. Then, six days later, back in LA Rachel broke her nose rehearsing for a performance. She was doing nothing more than ‘thrashing’ (like normal) her way through a transition on the silks in ‘performance mode’ when she literally kneed herself in the face. She is currently recovering comfortably and plans to be back at the studio with a sexy nose bandage later this week.
Can aerial injuries be prevented? Some can, we think, with adequate diligence and discipline. By warming up thoroughly before training, conditioning progressively to build strength, getting adequate rest, eating well, stretching, massage and other physical therapies many strains and minor injuries can be prevented. Some injuries, however, fall under the category of an ‘accident.’ A seemingly unavoidable, random occurrence caused by ‘Bad Luck’ or ‘Fate,’ ‘God’ or ‘The Universe’ (depending on your belief system of course). Whether avoidable or not, injuries are certainly a challenge most of us will confront at some point in our lives as aerialists and aerial students, so lets look at how we can make the best of what is typically an unfortunate situation.
Womack and Bowman’s Tips To Healing From Aerial Related Injuries
1. Get Treated
After sustaining an injury, whether it is a chronic muscle tear or bone injury or a milder strain, be sure to get yourself checked by a medical professional as soon as possible. Urgent Care is often the most immediate and effective place to get seen by a Doctor but if your injury is milder by all means check in with your preferred MD, Chiropractor or Holistic Medical Doctor. The important thing is to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
2. Take A Rest
As active people this one is certainly a challenge. The thought of losing strength and flexibility and ‘missing out’ on aerial classes and community is really difficult. We have found that the best way to cope with this down time is to use it as a healing opportunity for more then just the body. Once over the immediate trauma of a chronic injury, take the opportunity to visit with friends and family who bring you joy, spend time in nature or at museums and art galleries, pick up a hobby such as knitting or chess or painting. Find activities that light you up inside and fuel you in a different way. This will aid in the healing process and help you recover faster as well as enrich your life.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes
Injuries provide an incredible opportunity for reflection and self-growth. Whether minor or severe, there is usually some kind of teachable moment that emerges. Perhaps we strained our hamstring because we were late to class, missing most of the warm up when we dropped into that double foot lock split (Ouch!)? Maybe we injured our rib by attempting one too many Meathooks after not training them for several weeks? These lessons are not necessarily fun to learn but they can be excellent opportunities for personal growth as well as help us to train smarter once we return to the air.
4. Stay Positive
Captain obvious here but it is helpful to remind ourselves to stay positive while recovering from an injury. We may feel like it is taking an eternity and that we are losing strength and missing out on all the fun stuff in class but the reality is that this recovery time is just a short blip in your long and vibrant aerial career to come. Remind yourself that this injury is temporary and enjoy the opportunity to rest and nurture healthy relationships and new hobbies in your life. Soon you will be back on the silks, newly energized, inspired and grateful for the opportunity to fulfill your passion!
If you are currently experiencing an injury that is keeping you from training and performing remember: ‘This Too Shall Pass.’ Enjoy the opportunity to nurture and take care of yourself – mind, body and spirit.