Body awareness is a great gift. Some people have it and some people don’t. I can find out pretty quickly how in tune someone is with their body and in their movement once I begin my initial assessment.
Some people don’t realize how often their injury bothers them, or how long they have been dealing with the pain until I start asking more questions in my Athletic Therapy initial assessment. Obviously they came to see me for a reason, but maybe they have just adapted to the pain and limitations of their issue.
Others patients are very intuitive as to exactly what movements bother them, how long its been going on, what activities will “set it off”, etc.
My goal as an Athletic Therapist is to make my patients more aware of their body and their movements. I will say, ok next time you run (e.g.), try and remember at what point the pain started, or when it subsided. Is it enough for you to stop? Does your pain go away once you are warmed up? Once I give people these cues, then the next time I see them they can report back a bit more accurately (I hope).
Importantly, I want my patients to be aware of how they feel after their Athletic Therapy session. Are you sore for 3 days? Do you feel great? Let me know! This will help guide my treatment, and I can see how you are progress (or regressing). My rule of thumb: No improvement after 4 weeks then I advise you to see your doctor.
Another issue I have come across with body awareness is that my patients will feel great one day, and then push themselves to the max at the gym, and then they suffer for the next 1-2 weeks. If you are just starting to feel back to normal, ease into your activity. No activity you do should go from 0 to 100. What I mean is if you have taken time away from running (for instance), your first run back should not be 10 km. Ease into it, start with a walk/run, then slowly increase your mileage to get back to whatever your normal is.
So the take home message here is to listen to your body. Try and be cognizant about what movements bother you, what time of day you get the pain and most importantly rest when you need it. You will be a lot happier taking a day or two off then having to deal with pain for 1-2 weeks!