Pain is something that we all experience, regardless of our age. Young, elderly, middle-aged or retired – our gut reaction to pain is that we want it to stop. (Have you ever heard the saying about the patient who told the doctor, “When I do this, it hurts,” and the doctor replied, “Then don’t do that!”?) People used to be told to rest if they were in pain; but the problem with that is if we rest too much, our bodies become rusted and worn out, and don’t function the way they are supposed to. We can let pain stop us and cause disruption in our day-to-day lives, but there are other ways we can stop the pain but we must realize all pain is not bad. Then we need to consider if whether the pain is ‘good pain’ or ‘bad pain.’
When Pain Is Bad
Sometimes, pain is a signal that something isn’t right and needs some attention. Pain is a powerful thing; it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go, and if you try to ignore it, it only gets worse. The Cleveland Clinic defines this type of acute pain as pain that “begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain might be mild and last just a moment, or it might be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months, and it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed.”
‘Bad’ pain is often felt in or near the joints, and continues to hurt after exercise or strenuous activity is completed; it worsens over time and instead of improving with exercise, it persists. This usually indicates a joint or muscle problem that is not normal, and you should consult your doctor to determine a plan of action to hopefully eliminate the pain.
All Pain is not Bad
‘Good’ pain is often felt in the muscles. For example, when exercising, we may notice pain in the muscles being worked, but the pain stops a few minutes after the exercise has been completed. Sometimes, some soreness follows for 24-72 hours after exercising. Thankfully, the more we exercise, the faster we heal and we don’t need to do anything other than rest for a short period and maybe use a heating pad to relax our sore muscles.
We instinctively avoid pain, and often do one of the following things to attempt to deal with it:
- Avoid activities that cause pain or fatigue
- Do nothing and wait for the pain to cease
- Use ice packs for a new injury or heating pads for strained muscles
- Use pain medications and/or NSAIDS
- Surgery, etc.
This regular course of action doesn’t include one of the best pain relief options – exercise! Learning all pain is not bad and doing regular exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers and also help alleviate anxiety and depression. We can all benefit from exercise, regardless of our current level of fitness or ability.
Benefits of regular exercise include:
- Increased flexibility that allows our joints to move freely through a full range of motion, which can decrease aches and pains.
- Increased strength that allows us to do more without stress on our bones and cartilage, resulting in less pain.
- Lowered stress hormones, which results in better sleep and lets the body properly rejuvenate and repair itself.
- Increased energy levels, which in turn increases our ability to handle stress and complete our day-to-day tasks.
- Healthy weight maintenance, which puts less stress on the joints, causing less pain and discomfort.
- Enhanced mood and an overall improved sense of well-being.
Regardless of age, we can all benefit from exercise that will keep us healthy, able-bodied and free from many conditions that cause pain. Working with a trainer can help you reach your goals safely while monitoring any pre-existing conditions and making sure your progress is both consistent and safe.
Want to know more about how exercise can help you? Contact me today, I would love to help.
Need help? Have questions? I’m here to make it easier. If you have questions, then let’s connect. Book yourself a pressure-free, 20 minute Fitness Breakthrough session. I will help figure out what you need in order to become stronger and healthier version of yourself.
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