Training with Pain


I know we are all familiar with term “No pain, no gain” it is not always the best way to continue or start a workout session.
Most of the time young athletes and so called “weekend warriors” will underestimate one crucial signal from your body “PAIN”. They might consider this as an obstacle during/after a training session when in fact “PAIN” is a red flag to discontinue or modified the activity in order to prevent further damage. This old saying creates a false meaning to the population that anything from severe pain to muscle soreness shouldn’t be taken into consideration. Don’t get me wrong, if muscle soreness or fatigue is the case and to get one more repetition to improve strength or conditioning then it’s “OK” to keep on going. On the other hand, Pain it’s an indicator that there is a dysfunction in your body that should be addressed before continuing any activity. Currently is common to hear young/recreational active individuals to try to mask the pain with anti-inflammatory/pain medications for long periods of time just to get through one more training session or race.

Basically, pain is a sign or warning that there is something wrong somewhere else in your body. A simple way to understand what pain is in your body picture this. Imagine you are in a car while driving you a red light in your dash board turns on. The next thing you will do is put a gym towel on the dashboard because the red light is annoying. Does this make sense? Same idea could be related to pain let’s say you go out for a run about mile 3 you a sudden feel knee pain over knee cap area. You stop and buy anti-inflammatory or over the counter pain medication at the drug store just mask the pain. You get the idea GYM TOWEL=PAIN MEDICATION. Instead, it could have just been a muscle imbalance that’s causing some joint or tendon irritation developed by sudden increase in volume of training or poor body mechanics.

Pain will definitely reduce the ability of your body’s proprioception and kinesthetic capability to performed running, cutting activities, jumping tasks, etc. In turn, pain will limit the competence of motor learning to take place due to the distorted information received into your brain cortex. In addition, poor motor learning in combination with poor performance exercises is a never ending vicious cycle that will diminish your training quality on the long run. Moreover, if training persists through pain compensation and the use of awkward movement will be the only way of your body in order to achieve the plan activity resulting in unnecessary stress to other areas in the body. For these reasons, is imperative to get to the root of the cause of the pain, what is causing the pain, where it is coming from and what could be done to correct the problem.

I would share with you potential non traumatic causes of pain: 
  • Poor form 
  • Poor technique 
  • Not enough warm up 
  • Didn’t stretch
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Right and left asymmetries
  • Energy that is going to stress other areas
  • Sudden Increase volume of training 
 Next time, you have PAIN seek for the proper professionals that could give you a hand to fix your problem such as orthopedic medical doctors, physiotherapist and athletic trainers. Remember when you use or seek for quick fixes or cover-ups for pain it will have an effect on the long run so it’s your job to find the proper care and until someone gives you a logical cause and solution. So you could continue with your regular activities.
Contributed by Dr. Carlos Jimenez

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