Tag Archives: injury

My Yoga and My Injury: Cutting Back Even More

Well, it happened. I injured myself big time in yoga. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened, but I think it happened while I was doing ahandstand during a vinyasa. I was engaging my left oblique too much and I felt it snap/pop or something very unpleasant.

Gray's Anatomy
Gray’s Anatomy Plate 392. Taken from Wikipedia. This shows the external oblique and the latissimus dorsi. For me, the pain is right underneath the bottom rib around where the lats and obliques meet.

The next few days were unpleasant since I was dealing with post-nasal drip cough on top of the rib.

Cough + strained rib = lots of pain.

I went to see a doctor about the pain and she said that regardless of whether it was a strain or a fracture, the recovery process would be the same, although a strain might heal faster.

A week later I was feeling better and decided to play ping-pong at the company birthday party.

Deadly mistake.

I cough. My rib popped even harder this time and I was left curled up in the fetal position since standing/walking and breathing was hard. You take for granted how often your core is engaged in simple activities (like walking, driving over speed bumps, lying in cough potato asana on the couch.)

Following day I spent on the couch in 1 of 2 positions that I could tolerate (slumping or lying on my injured side). Day 3 redux I attempted to walk in the mall at a slow motion pace before retiring to the couch.

A few takeaways I want you get from this:

  1. I know a lot of people complain about being injured doing yoga, but people also get injured doing most sports (running, basketball, soccer), as well as everyday things (walking, climbing stairs, tying your shoes.) I wasn’t doing anything I haven’t done before I got injured. I hope injury doesn’t deter you from trying. Life isn’t fun in a bubble.
  2. Taking it easy can be hard sometimes. I am surrounded by people who love exercise. My housemate tore his meniscus playing basketball and had it surgically repaired with a cadaver meniscus. It took a lot of willpower to keep himself from exercising (although, he did defy doctor’s orders and started early.) My husband sprained his MCL while kicking in soccer. He went back a little earlier than he should have and his knee remained sore and strained. I probably should not have played ping pong. (But, c’mon! It’s ping pong!) Some lessons are learned the hard way, but they will be learned.
  3. Recovery is a lot like starting from scratch (but not really.) It starts with baby steps and knowing that you CAN get to the level where you were before. It’s slow. It requires dedication. It requires breaks, rest and recovery.
[Photo: Visvamitrasana on the shore of Reykjavik mid-March 2015. The sky was so beautiful there. I have been unable to do this pose since I strained my left oblique.]

Injuries, Illnesses and Setbacks

For Thanksgiving week, I was lucky to be able to work remotely in Taiwan so that I could spend time visiting family. However, I’m not as young as I used to be and jerking myself from one time zone to another extremely disparate one was a bit jarring for me.

Injured my shoulder and neck area and forced to walk around like a robot for a week. Not cool
Injured my shoulder and neck area and forced to walk around like a robot for a week. Not cool

I soldiered on. However, one night at my in-laws place, I slept on one of those contour pillows incorrectly (due to exhaustion, I passed on out it with the large contour digging into my shoulder blade. I woke up with such extreme pain in my neck and shoulder that I wasn’t able to move my head in any direction without tears coming out of my eyes (no joke.) My head felt like a bowling ball and tilting it in any direction made it weigh that much more. (Here’s an article talking about posture and how tilting your head puts nearly 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.)

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, Taipei, Taiwan
The only crow that I was able to do the entire week. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, Taipei, Taiwan.

Even though I brought my yoga mat abroad, I was unable to use it.

And then came the plane ride. Eleven excruciating hours with an immobile neck. Luckily my father-in-law provided me with some Toricam gel that I slathered on my neck that made things slightly more tolerable.

It took almost a week after I came back from my trip before I felt okay enough to do yoga.

And then I got a cold.

I am still suffering from the repercussions of the cold nearly a week later, which has progressed into a sinus infection. Somewhere between hourly sinus irrigation, pei pa koa, pseudoephedrine and copious amounts of rest, I’m slowly recovering.

What has this taught me? I think it was just a reminder to slow down. I had worn myself out to the point where I sleep in awkward positions and wear down my immune system.

It has been deeply frustrating not doing yoga, flipping around in aerial or even going for a simple walk (without being breathless.) Sunday was the first day I was able to take my dogs out for their usual stroll. Monday was a sorry attempt at yoga, but an attempt nonetheless… and I was happy. Happy to just be doing something even if it didn’t look that great. Happy and grateful that my body was able to recover and I could do some semblance of movement.

So this week I’ve been going along with the theme that sometimes we need to slow down and appreciate where we are. Don’t take for granted the things we are capable of doing until it’s gone (or temporarily absent.)

Photo is of Mount QiXing. No exotic yoga photo this post since I was relegated to no yoga on this trip.