10-minute Free-Write Challenge: The Memory of a Physical Injury

by | Jan 18, 2016

Pain, once subsided, is soon forgotten. You might talk about how painful something was, but you don’t truly remember the exact feeling you had at the time you were experiencing it do you?

I had an accident coming up to 12 years ago this summer. I was 11 weeks pregnant at the time. The fall caused me to break my wrist and damage the ligaments in my shoulder. The baby, thank goodness, was absolutely fine and will soon be celebrating her 12th Birthday.

The pain of the fall has long been forgotten, the scars have healed and the bones mended, but the physical injury has left it’s mark in other ways: the remnants of the injuries I sustained have stayed with me for years.

Three pregnancies later, coupled with bad posture from holding little ones, I’ve been left with neck and shoulder problems that extend down my back, all of which need regular treatment.

Every time I feel my shoulders stiffening and I get a headache due to the neck pain, I’m reminded of that fall. It comes back to me every time my back feels like it’s going to give out (and it has done that once).

Thanks to a bizarre skidding incident down my front path whilst wearing inappropriate flip flops, I’ve been left with problems that I’m constantly having to manage.

Exercise (done the right way), plus chiropractic treatment and sports massage therapy help to manage the pain, but it’s always there as a reminder of that day.

This is what the memory of a physical injury means to me. Back and neck pain isn’t life threatening, but it’s constantly there, making me conscious of the way I sit, move or stand (and it’s annoying too). We all suffer from bad posture to an extent, so no doubt you know a little about what I mean.

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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  1. maddy@writingbubble

    I’m enjoying these free writing exercises of yours – I get to find out a little more about you. I also fell over in my first pregnancy – slipped on the bathroom floor and slammed down onto my left hip. Had to have physio during that pregnancy and it still sometimes hurts now. By far the worst pain I experienced was childbirth though and I have no residual pain from that (and I may be fortunate there as many people I know have complications). The memory of that pain is captured in a poem I wrote after my third child. Last time I read it it did really bring it back! Thanks for sharing this with #whatImWriting

    • Nicola Young

      It’s surprising how the pain of childbirth diminishes as soon as you hold the baby in your arms. That hip injury sounds painful. Must have been a worrying time.

  2. glasgowdragonfly

    Sounds sore. I often write about thoughts and physical sensations while I’m Going through them – I find it a useful coping strategy. This is an interesting insight into what pain means to you x

    • Nicola Young

      Yes that can be therapeutic, but for me, this was more about the legacy of that day.

  3. sophieblovett

    I almost couldn’t click through to this post – I’ve got so ridiculously squeamish about injuries recently! I think it’s more the thought of what could happen than the pain itself. Very glad to hear that this wasn’t too serious though. Having said that, I know very well the niggling physical memory of a painful injury – I had all sorts of (mostly minor) injuries from gymnastics and trampolining when I was growing up, and my ankles have never been quite right, especially in cold weather! Of course I might just be getting old… 😉 xx

    • Nicola Young

      It wasn’t gory. I couldn’t explain that now if I tried. That was the point really. I guess you’ve had your own fair share of injuries lately. Hope you are on the road to recovery now.

  4. Julie Jo Severson

    I’ve seen how chronic pain impacts a person’s entire life, the regrets of the misstep long ago that caused it. If only I hadn’t . . . Therapeutic for you to write about it I imagine. I cut my thumb when chopping vegetables when I was 8 months pregnant, spliced a tendon, hand to wear a molded cast up to my elbow while giving labor and nursing my baby, her little back often pressed against it as I had to use that arm to secure her on my chest. That was 15 years ago, and I still have a stiffness in my thumb, sometimes it’s difficult to hold a pen or open a jar, and I’m reminded of giving birth:) I think you’ve inspired me to write a post on this topic now. Nice to discover you here through @writingbubble.


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