Updated: Oct 16
We are in the business of "pain". This means that people come to us to get OUT of pain and get back to their regularly scheduled program. For this reason we are no strangers to pain!
The problem with pain is when we have pain we FREAK OUT. We get scared and lose all common sense as it relates to function. Pain can be paralyzing. For this reason we see that many of our patients who have pain will stop doing anything and everything as it relates to movement.
While resting may be the "safest" approach for certain acute injuries it is not always ideal for maintaining the rest of the body. In addition, we find that people who are injured and stop moving often have pain longer and develop more fear with movement.
Some reasons why people stop moving include: fear of making their condition worse, not knowing what to do to do, or somewhere along the way someone told them to "rest", "ice" and/or "medicate" until they feel better. While all these may be valid reasons, there is usually a way you can continue to move while your injury is healing itself.
Below are a few ways that you can keep moving, stay in shape and continue to TRAIN while you are in PAIN.
1. Move within certain limits
Work within tolerable ranges of pain, not debilitating ranges. Mild aching pain less than a 3-4/10 are usually ok to push through. When pain is present one tactic we use in rehabilitation is the concept of modifying variables. Variables include load (weight), speed, position/ROM, intensity, repetitions, frequency, duration, type of contraction or velocity. Try to modify your chosen sport by changing 1-2 of these variable such as load and speed and see how that effects your pain. Playing around with these variables can help you find your limits within an exercise for which you can still perform and train while not increasing you pain.
2. Don't aggravate your pain
Your body is smart. It tells you when it likes something and it tells you when it doesn't. When you injure yourself, the body works to protect certain movements that it does not like. For example, if you strain a muscle in your low back, it might hurt to pick something up from the ground. This is the body telling you that the muscles in your back that work to extend your spine are not ready to activate at that level of load so lifting something from the ground will give you pain. We need to listen to this and not do the things that the body does not like. It is really that simple. There will be lots of things the body will be good with. But your body will tell you pretty quickly what it is not ready for.
3. Move what does not hurt
Not all is lost when pain is present and you don't always have to lose your gains, we promise! Use this time to stay consistent and focus on other areas of your body such as flexibility, strength, stability. If its your lower body that's irritated right now, use his time to reach that new pull up goal or take time to work on that old Rotator cuff injury you used to have. Another great idea is use this time to reflect on your training. Analyze how you have spent the last few months and see if there is anything you can have done better, prior to injury. Think too much load, not enough recovery, poor warm ups, not enough mobility or even just too much stress in your life leaving you prone to injury?!! Regardless of where you are in the injury process, your body is always trying to heal, and giving it the optimal environment for that includes movement. So stay productive and don't sleep on the rest of your body!
So the moral of the story is DON'T STOP MOVING. TRAIN THROUGH THE PAIN.
Pain is a sign we are alive. The body is constantly working to heal and adapt we just have to give it the right environment to do so. Utilize these principles, seek help when needed and you will be able to "safely" Train with "pain".
YOU GOT THIS.
Yours in strength,
Dr. Brown & Dr. P