Have you ever heard the saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” or “No pain, no gain?” Sometimes these sayings can be a bit misleading because it gives us the idea that pain during exercise is normal, which is not always the case.
I have been a competitive runner since the age of 10. Often times we are taught to “push through the pain,” but it is also important to be aware of the different types of pain and when you should see someone about them. Pain is generally a protective mechanism that tells your brain something is not right. Training or racing with a minor injury can actually lead to a more serious one.
Pains to be aware of
During activity you may be feeling pain, but that is typically associated with muscle fatigue. The following are certain types of pains to be aware of that you should consult a physical therapist with:
- Pain that is accompanied with muscle weakness
- Pain that is present at rest or that has not gone away after a few days of rest
- Feelings of instability or a “giving away”
- Pain associated with swelling or visible changes
- Pain with a specific trauma or onset
- Pain that is stabbing or sharp
Why a physical therapist?
So whom should you see? With the Internet available at our fingertips it is easy to rely on Dr. Google to tell us what is wrong and how to fix it. The problem with that is no one is actually looking at you or your movements to determine the real issue. Sure you can treat the symptoms, but just as a small match can start a large forest fire, a small injury can potentially become a big one without the proper care.
Physical therapists are skilled healthcare providers who are experts in movement analysis and rehabilitating injuries. They can perform a complete evaluation, identify areas of improvement and develop a customized treatment plan to address and treat the cause of pain.
A PT can help you train safely, meet your goals, and get you back to what you love! So if you have pain like described above, why haven’t you seen a PT yet?
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Robin Bewley, PT, DPT, OTR/L, MOT
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