If you’ve been alive for very long, chances are you’ve had an area of your body start hurting. Unfortunately, the more we age the more likely this is to happen. Different lifestyles can also increase the chances of this. Unless you plan on living in a padded room and never moving you’ll probably have some pain in your body. Do not fear. Your life is not over, and you don’t have to give up everything you love! But you do have to do something, which brings me to my first piece of advice...Don’t ignore pain. If it’s been over a month, you still have pain somewhere, and you’ve yet to see anyone about it...it’s time! Ignoring problems will lead to bigger problems (there’s your body lesson and life lesson).
Most people (I’m one of them) will want to figure out as much as possible before spending the time and money to get it looked at. That’s all well and good, but don’t wait too long. Most common injuries are overuse injuries caused by poor body mechanics or bad form. With poor body mechanics you have structural, mobility and/or stability issues to where you are unable to get in proper positions. You understand what correct form and posture are, but your body won’t move that way any more (or maybe it never has). This will cause an injury or inflammation with repetitive use because the appropriate muscles and joints aren’t moving and working as needed. Something will suffer. This is why we stress mobility and proper movements at Body Basics. Usually the pain is not the problem, but the symptom of a problem. For example, if you have tight hip flexors your back will be constantly pulled into a bad position, either too flexed or too extended and then you will start having back pain. Your back is not the problem, your hip flexors are. You work over and over at stretching your back, but that may just compound the problem because it will loosen it more so it moves more and the hip flexors can just continue their pulling it further out of position. Yep, the body is complicated.
When in doubt, get it checked out. We as trainers do our best to keep you in good positions and give you guidance on mobility during your training, but we aren’t with you all day (thank God), and it’s likely the position you spend most of your time in isn’t the best. Sitting all day will cause many problems in your body in the long run. There are whole books written on it, and we aren’t going into that today. Your trainer can give you recommendations about what areas of your body are too tight, weak or asymmetrical, but for a more in depth advice, look to a Physical Therapist (PT).
If your injury happened suddenly with a crash, fall, bad swing, or other sudden incident, this is where the more serious problems can happen. Depending on the severity, chances are a doctor’s visit is the first thing that needs to happen. It is very important to rule out a broken bone before moving on to other forms of therapy. Broken bones are the main time that total rest of the area is advised. After your doctor rules out a broken bone with an X-ray, then they might look further into the source of pain. A ligament, tendon, or labrum tear is quite serious and cause significant pain. An MRI is going to be the best way to look into that. If this is the cause of pain it will either be something that a PT can rehab or a doctor will recommend surgery followed by rehab. (If your doctor doesn’t recommend PT, find a new doctor.)
One of the worst things you can do when in pain is stop moving. Injuries need good blood flow to heal properly. Your mental health and your physical health need movement on a regular basis. I know of people with missing limbs who still work out and push themselves every day. Pick any area of your body that’s hurting,; I will show you a way to workout without causing more pain. It’s not the end for you! Keep moving. Pain is your guide. I do not recommend anything that causes pain. I am talking about being smart, creative and finding ways to work different muscles and get a great cardiovascular workout in spite of an injury.
Injuries come and with careful attention they will go! This is what we are all looking for, getting rid of that darn pain. I cannot stress enough the importance of being a good student. Once you know what the issue is in your body, then follow the plan to get it better. It will take consistent work. If you saw a doctor and it’s a broken bone or something torn, rest that area. If you saw a PT and they gave you 3 stretches and 2 exercises, do them consistently. Understand the problem all you can and do what’s needed to keep the pain away. If you do nothing, then expect nothing to change. Work at it with a smart plan and that pain will be gone in no time! Unless there’s something serious that is in need of surgery, then your path to pain free is a little longer but still in sight.
Preventing injury in the first place is the smartest thing we can do. Work on flexibility, mobility, and get strong. Get a trainer so you can learn to workout and move properly, then move every day. Movement is the essence of life. If you quit being able to move, you accelerate death. Being able to tie your shoes, take the trash out, wipe yourself, pick up your kids or grandkids, go outside and take a walk...these seem like little things but are so important to quality of life. You may not want to hear it, but even nutrition plays a role in injury prevention. If you are eating junk all the time you are increasing inflammation in your body and weakening your bodies connective tissue. Eat foods with lots of nutrients, fiber, protein, and don’t forget water. They all play a part in health and even recovering from injury. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But if you are like me and regardless of your best efforts you’ve found yourself in some pain lately, seek out help and follow the steps to smart recovery. Keep active and moving through it all and you will be pain free soon!