When you are seriously driven and passionate about exercise, health and fitness goals, and your sport, sometimes it is hard to slow down and recognize that your body is not functioning right. Or maybe your job demands, travel, remodeling the house, or commuting seems to prevent you from actually taking the time to DO something about the pain.
Often it is all too easy to think the ache and pain will just “go away” if ignored. Unfortunately, ignoring the early warning signs can make problems worse, lead to a more serious injury and make your recovery time longer in the future.
PAIN is like your body’s check engine light. It serves as an alarm to indicate that something needs to be looked at and examined if something is wrong. It can be an indication of a minor problem, major problem or the potential for a serious or IRREVERSIBLE problem. Typically, the longer you wait to address it the more costly the issue becomes.
It is difficult to know how serious the issue is if you just keep pushing through the pain. Your body is like a car, how much you use it and to the extent of the intensity, frequency and duration you run yourself- requires a certain amount of “servicing.” You need to treat your body accordingly to balance the wear and demand you are putting on it. Jumping into intense activity or exercise after periods of being sedentary or inconsistent with exercise can be very costly(you wouldn’t take a road trip cross country in a car that has sat idle for weeks, months or years without servicing it would you?). The consequence of not paying attention to the early warning signs of pain or injury can be devastating and life altering, unfortunately I have observed it all to often.
Pushing through the pain can cause your body to compensate and either overuse or underuse other parts of your body. This puts you at an increased RISK for suffering another injury and making the current one worse.
Understanding Muscle Pain vs Muscle Soreness
It is critical and beneficial to your health to be able to understand the difference between muscle soreness and pain.
A muscle gets sore and achy from doing healthy exercise with the correct form and movement. Soreness improves and dissipates with more activity and stretching.
Muscle pain is typically the result of an injury and is usually felt during or after exercise, specific activity or inactivity. This type of pain is typically described as a sharp, deep ache or extreme tightness. The pain typically gets worse if you continue to do the activity and gets better when avoiding certain activities or movements.
If you find yourself avoiding your exercise, sports, or not being able to fully participate in your daily activities or work, then you likely have a muscle or joint issue, instead of just muscle soreness.
Masking the pain with pain medications or injections to “buy time" and allow you to “function” or “perform” can lead to consequences on your organs, and tendon tissue because injections can often lead to the break down of tendon and ligament integrity. This increases the risk of tears, think Achilles ruptures, Rotator cuff damage and various knee injuries.
Even if you think your pain isn’t that bad or not that limiting wouldn’t you rather address a little fixable problem before it becomes a much bigger and maybe even an UNFIXABLE problem?
Have any unanswered questions or want help to ensure you can stay pain, injury and surgery free? Please give us a call here, (805) 941-0125, to request a FREE phone consultation with our Specialist Physical Therapist or clink the link below to schedule a time is best to talk to your pain, limitations and goals. You can learn more tips to adress your injury in our FREE TIPS "6 Critical Tips for Athletes Can: To Return To Training & Sports Quicker & Prevent Re-injury."
At Perseverance Movement Specialists & Pilates we help people aged 40+ stay fit, active and overcome mobility loss to be able to live the life they love without fear, limitation and depending on painkillers or procedures.
Yvonne A. Castillo, MSPT, DPT, CPT