“No Pain, No Gain”
Very true for training, conditioning, and the many other sacrifices required to improve.
But I can’t agree with this similar quote:
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Regarding injuries at least.
I don’t like to post about negative subjects, but I felt this was important enough as it affects many people.
For those of you that don’t know me, I likely first hurt my back doing Judo. But, as a brash youngster, I believed I had super healing powers and thought it would eventually go away. The strain didn’t disappear, and I continued to do what I’d normally do trying to ignore the pain for years.
It was a dull pain that always lingered, and limited how long I could practice, play or exercise. If I stopped for a little, even waiting for the next game, the muscles would become stiff, inflexible and limiting. I thought it was just normal, nothing could be done about it, since you hear so many people complain about their aches and pains. And believed I was just another one of those in that category.
It got so bad, I had to stop playing tournaments. I wanted to train, but I felt my body told me I needed to retire. So I took a long break, disappearing from the table tennis realm. After about 6 months, the itch to play was too great, and I tried just hitting some serves at home.
This may be embarrassing to admit, but while picking up something as light as a ping pong ball, I felt a razor sharp knife like pain stab into my spine. Immediately, my mind went blank and I dropped to the floor. Any slight movement, even trying to change the angle of my fall, was like a dagger cutting deep into the bone. It took about half an hour just to lay face down into a position where just the pressure from body weight would not cause the excruciating pain.
Unable to move, the only thought I had was wondering if I’d be paralyzed with pain forever.
With much help after being discovered, I got to a bed and was bedridden for about 3 weeks. I didn’t eat much, but I can’t even remember how I got to the bathroom. Eventually, I could at least sit up and hobble over to wherever I needed to go. Sports were out of the question. And exercise was impossible. Another 6 months of being inactive. I dreaded every sneeze that came about as it contracted the core muscles and would be another knife stab in the lower back. A two month coughing bout really made me wish I would end and just be in Heaven instead. And still, I was quite stupid, as I thought I could get better from the ordeal. I never believed doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and rarely even took medicine.
After a year the muscles around the spine, began to heal, but incorrectly, and the bones weren’t even in the right place. In school, we had the chance to start a club and team. The chance wasn’t going to come around again, so we put together a club and team. So I came out of seclusion, and for the first time in a year without as much as a rally, played in the College Regionals.
Though we won, that one day of play sent my whole year of recovery to waste, and I couldn’t move again. And so I was stuck in bed again, trying to recover in time for the 2nd Regionals. I couldn’t let the team down, so I played sparingly. With my teammates, we won our way to the College Nationals.
Meanwhile, at the old ping pong club my family played at, the seniors asked my parents where I was and what happened to me. They said I was mostly busy with school and made a small mention that I can’t play anymore because I was pretty much crippled. Luckily, one of them knew one of those super martial arts joint doctors in Chinatown and everyone said he was the best around.
Fed up with the pain, I felt I had nothing to lose. Most other chiropractors I had seen already could not fix or even find the problem, and just wanted me to go back for more visits. The Chinatown doctor, was different. He didn’t want to see you again, he always just fixed people’s problem and told them to not come back. Very friendly, and truly interested in helping people. He took one look and already saw one of the problems. After, a closer check he found I had a slipped disc, and one of the main tendons were out of place. After the first visit, the sharp pains were immediately gone. A second visit, which involved herbs, alcohol, and fire, a technique he called Dragon’s breath, pretty much reset all the back muscles as well as they could be after over a year of damage. (Yes, he lit my back on fire for about 15 minutes.)
So that one and only year, Cal State East Bay had organized table tennis and even placed 15th in the Nation.
So please, do not ignore your injuries. Many problems that get the immediate attention they deserve can be fixed without any long term effects. As soon as the doctor says you can, do stretches and exercises to strengthen and keep everything flexible in order to recover quickly.
The MTAG Team