We’ve all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain.” But should pain really be our goal? And what are the best methods for dealing with pain if you’ve pushed yourself too far?
The idea of pain being beneficial is based in truth. If you want to increase your fitness, you do need to move outside of your comfort zone. And that means muscle soreness and fatigue.
But how much is too much? There is a fine line between the pain that means you’re building your fitness and the pain that signifies injury.
When you’re trying to increase the weight you can lift, you want to feel slightly sore and tired by the end of your repetitions. Pushing your muscles to their limits helps them to become stronger. But if you can hardly move your arms the next day or are still sore after a few days, you upped your weight too quickly. If you’re trying to increase the distance you walk, you may find yourself breathing harder as you finish your walk. However, if you’re breathing so hard you can’t talk or your legs ache badly for a days afterward, you’ve overdone it.
Pain can be a strong indicator of injury, not only in extreme cases like breaks and sprains, but also in less severe injuries that can happen with overuse or doing too much too quickly. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your body. If you think you may have gone too far, you probably have.
What should you do if the pain you’re experiencing is signaling overuse or injury? Most of us would likely reflexively reach for a painkiller. But there are other option for dealing with pain that may be more beneficial, particularly in the long term.
Massage therapy has long been recognized for its effectiveness in treating pain. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommended in February that patients with lower back pain be treated with massage therapy before resorting to medication.
One of the types of body work I offer in my practice is especially good for those suffering from painful injuries. Some people shy away from massage therapy when they’re injured because they fear the body work will lead to more pain. CranioSacral Therapy, however, uses light touch to relieve your pain. Using pressure equivalent to approximately the weight of a nickel, I can manipulate your spinal cord and skull to alleviate painful tension from injury and overuse.
They say the best medicine is prevention. But when that fails and you find yourself in pain, call me.