Do you have an injury or pain you just can’t seem to shake? Does it get better after treatment, but then comes back after a few more days, weeks, months? This is really common, it’s what I like to call a “lifestyle injury” – meaning there is something happening in your life which is causing or exacerbating the injury, or not allowing it to fully heal.

So often when we’re faced with the pain of a lifestyle injury, we get intermittent treatment to simply eradicate the pain. But this isn’t sufficient to actually address the problem. If you don’t delve deeper into what the injury actually is and find out why it is occurring, then you’re never going to fully resolve the pain or symptoms. Over time, you’ll just start to live with that little niggle in your back, or the tightness in your shoulders, or those creaky knees. These things will become part of your new normal, they’ll become a chronic injury, and you might give up trying to treat them. Don’t! Keep seeking treatment – but seek a treatment that focuses on the problem, not the solution.

Want my example?

Last year I kept getting pain in my right calf whenever I ran. For a few weeks I put my running on hold as I was really worried about sustaining a calf tear. I took myself to the physio twice, but it didn’t really seem to be improving. Then, one day, I noticed the pain after a long car drive and it made me wonder whether driving was the real problem. Over the next few days I noticed that whenever I was driving, I would externally rotate my right hip, so my right foot was pressing the accelerator on an angle – placing extra strain on my peroneal muscles (along the side of the calf.)

Bingo! I had found the real problem. It wasn’t the running at all, it was my foot position on the accelerator pedal while driving.

After that day I started to make a very conscious effort to ensure my foot, knee and hip were all aligned when driving. Within a few days my pain had gone, without further treatment – just some dedicated stretching. I started up my running again and haven’t had a problem since.

So, what’s behind your “lifestyle injury”?