Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Many moons ago a wonderful actress brought the concept of “no pain, no gain” to the forefront. It is a catchy phrase. But its influence in fitness and sports may have been more destructive than good.
Pain is a message that something is wrong. It is a message to stop what you are doing and determine what is causing the pain. Perhaps something as simple as a change in position or alignment will be enough to eliminate the pain. Pain may be indicative of some type of damage – bone, muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve. Pain may result from overuse and not getting appropriate rest. It may be due to doing something you are not strong enough to execute in efficient form. Continuing to work through pain will just result in more damage. There will be no gain. Once there is injury you are back to where you began.
One must be able to distinguish between muscle soreness (which if moderate is fine) and injurious pain. Injurious pain is the type of pain that tells you to stop. It just doesn’t feel right. Continuing to exercise with this type of pain is not advised.
Often pain may indicate, as mentioned above, a positional fault, that when corrected alleviates the pain. So if you feel pain stop, release some tight structures with self mobilization techniques (that you were carefully instructed to do by a qualified professional), remind yourself of proper form and body mechanics and then resume the activity that was initially painful. In the beginning start slow with little to no resistance. Often this will be enough. If the pain is still present then you should stop and be evaluated by a qualified professional (Orthopedist, Physical Therapist), If you address an injury early it will be easier to get back to your exercise program. Statistically injuries treated early are easier to treat. Injures that are ongoing, because one decided to work through the pain, are much more complicated and take much longer to resolve.