SUCK IT UP!
PAIN… we’ve all experienced it…
in varying degrees.
We’ve all develop a tolerance to it…
in varying degrees.
Women have a higher tolerance to chronic pain! (menstrual cramps, labor pain, head colds, undersized shoes, soap operas, shopping malls and concentration camps*).
Men have a higher tolerance to acute pain! (cuts, bruises, slivers, bee-stings, fishing hooks, crosschecks, high-sticks, blocks, tackles, punches, head-butts, razor nicks, hammered thumbs, broken fingernails. Basically any instantaneous pain EXCEPT waxed hair and doctor visits).
(*Fact – women outlasted men in WWII concentration camps almost 2:1.)
Let’s examine the difference between GOOD PAIN and BAD PAIN as it applies to health and fitness.
GOOD PAIN means we’re growing and changing for the better. It’s part of the adaptation process that helps us get stronger. When GOOD PAIN becomes unbearable we say, SUCK IT UP!
BAD PAIN means something is wrong or broken. It means we inadvertently did something wrong – wrong body position, wrong motion, too much resistance, jerky or sudden movement, poor balance, poor flexibility, etc. If we keep going, we MAY make things worse. When BAD PAIN becomes unbearable we say, SEE A DOCTOR.
Manageable injuries involve pain but don’t necessarily keep us from getting through the day. We’re not confined to a bed and we don’t require any kind of a brace, cast, wheelchair or walking aid. We can still function but we are experiencing pain or discomfort in one particular part of our body when we make certain movements. Most manageable injuries are related to soft and connective tissues – ligaments, tendons, fascia and muscles.
The primary key to expediting soft-tissue injuries is OXYGEN.
OXYGEN heals all wounds.
Oxygen is essential to healing because damaged tissues produce excess metabolic waste which must be oxidized and carried away. For example, if you have an abrasion on your skin and cover it too tightly, it takes longer to heal because it can’t “breathe”. The same principle is true for internal injuries. Since Oxygen is delivered to all internal tissues through our blood stream, there are three primary ways we can stimulate Oxygen (blood) flow internally to injured tissues.
As an Athletic Trainer at two private universities (Manhattan College, Pace University), we frequently used ice (cryotherapy) more than heat to ease pain and facilitate healing. In reality, ice is the best form of heat. Our body’s ideal temperature is 98.6 degrees. When we apply ice to our flesh, the skin turns red. Why? The body’s immediate reaction to ice is to return the iced portion of our body back to 98.6 degrees. To accomplish this, your body will open up the blood vessels and capillaries near the skin (skin turns red), thereby shunting warm blood (heat) into the tissue. The real benefit is the increased Oxygen flow, oxidation of metabolic waste and faster healing.
*IMPORTANT: You can never go wrong with putting ice on any injury. You CAN go wrong by putting heat on an injury. While heat is sometimes applicable, it can exacerbate inflammation. Like ice, heat will also stimulate blood flow and make our skin red. BUT, it is actually shunting blood flow away from the injury as your body attempts to cool the area back down to 98.6 degrees. When in doubt – use ice. Especially for the first 72 hours after any injury.
We often get massages to feel good but, the real benefit of therapeutic massage is to manipulate tissue damage, drain unwanted fluids back into the circulatory system and stimulate blood flow, thereby bringing Oxygen to damaged tissues. If you have an injury within reach (ankle, elbow, shoulder), gently rub the area and gradually increase your pressure. Massaging your own injuries is an excellent way to reduce the build-up of unwanted fluids and stimulate blood flow.
Everyone’s natural reaction to physical pain is to avoid motions which increase the pain. We guard and protect our injuries through limited movement (hobbling on twisted ankles, bracing painful shoulders or looking like a “freeze-tag victim” when we have back spasms). Some of you may be familiar with the “R.I.C.E” recipe for injuries (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). This is the correct combination of remedies within the first 48 – 72 hours after an acute injury. However, once the initial trauma-drama is over, the recipe for repair should change. Your new recipe becomes “M.I.M.E.” (Motion, Ice, Massage, Exercise)
As long as I’ve been involved in rehabilitative exercise, I’ve convinced people to move into the pain for the quickest and most successful results. Moving into the pain simply means to isolate the movement(s) or position(s) where the pain starts to increase. Slowly and regularly force yourself to press into the direction of those movements or positions. In other words, gently take the pain. Pain is telling you precisely where the damage is and more importantly, where Oxygen is needed. Gently forcing the damaged tissue to work will break-up any tissue constrictions, pump out “pooled” fluids and stimulate blood (Oxygen) flow in the capillaries. Gradually, increased motion must turn into regular exercise thereby increasing the mobility and strength of the damaged tissues.
The sooner we can stimulate Oxygen flow, the faster you will be on the road to recovery.
And, the sooner you SUCK IT UP the quicker you’ll quit being a wimp.
Women’s Fitness Workout | Mens Workout Routine | Hillsboro Local Fitness Trainer | Beaverton Physical Fitness Trainer