Don’t Suffer in Silence

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Pain is Gain. Right? That’s what I used to think. I used to think pain was normal. Weakness leaving the body. We’ve all heard those little things we tell ourselves to mask the extreme discomfort. It took a constant sharp twinge in my rib cage anytime I used my core (that turned out to be a torn intercostal muscle) to realize that something wasn’t right, and that pain isn’t normal. 


The dictionary definition of pain is “physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.” Nowhere in that sentence does it say that pain should come from or during exercise. Now, to clarify for all you sticklers who are thinking “I’m in pain everyday!! The workouts are so hard!!”, there is a difference between exercise discomfort and pain. And as the definition states, the kind of pain we are talking about comes from illness or injury. 


Challenging exercises or workouts might have you out of breath, hands on your knees, laying on the ground at the end and be really hard. That is entirely true. However, the type of pain I am talking about is the “ouch” kind of pain. Like, everytime I lunge forwards, my knees send a sharp signal to my brain to stop. Or when I overhead press my shoulder twinges and it hurts for days after. Or my low back is chronically hurting me and hindering my lifestyle. THAT is the kind of pain we can, and want, to end. 


As athletes, I know a lot of us are wired to suffer in silence. Depending on your upbringing, you may have been told to “suck it up” or “rub some dirt” on it. Trust me, when it came to my pain I tried to push through for as long as possible. But it got to the point where I was constantly uncomfortable both in and outside the gym, even just sitting on my couch was hard. And as Coach Caren mentioned in her latest blog, we have to know, understand, and respect our body’s limitations. 


Pain is not normal. Pain is a signal from our body that something is wrong. And pain is not something we have to live with. If you have been pushing through pain for a long time you might not even realize that it isn’t normal, and that you can fix it. I am here to tell you that it is NOT normal, and we can help you! 


If you’re reading this and realized it applies to you, here are some steps you can take to help eliminate your suffering; 


  • Tell a coach. This is the big one. Whether you are a group class junkie or a new athlete, we want to know how you are feeling. The first thing we can do is modify that workout for you, and then we can help you dig a little deeper into what is going on and come up with an action plan.


  • If it is a new injury, REST. Sometimes we are just hurt and that’s okay. When you try to push through and keep challenging our body in the wrong way we only make it worse. Some injuries we can totally modify for, sore wrist? Okay let’s move those legs today. Torn rib cage muscle? Hmm maybe take a couple days off and let that heal up. A few days off to recover won’t hinder your progress and you’ll thank yourself in the long run. 


  • If it is pain from a chronic injury that you are already aware of, consider Physical Therapy. There are tons of resources and references that we can make in regards to this. See a professional when it comes to these things!


  • If you have already been to PT and had success, consider bringing back some of your PT exercises. A lot of the time if you had success in the past and then the pain came back, it’s because your body wasn’t fully recovered. So bringing back some things that worked in the past will most likely help that healing process begin again. 


  •  Consider scheduling a 1 on 1 with a coach to learn how to properly move, stretch and recover. You would be surprised how much of your pain could be coming from not using the right muscles in certain exercises. Or what stretch you didn’t know could be used to relieve the tightness that is causing your pain. Or how much recovery plays into everything! 


Remember, pain is not normal. More importantly, you are not alone in your pain, we are here to help you. We want to help get and keep you pain free. 


You don’t have to suffer in silence, so don’t!

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