Can I exercise with pain?!

Exercising when in pain can be scary and comes with a lot of uncertainty. Can I do it? Should I do it? Will I prolong my pain or cause issues in the future?

Yes. Yes. No.

As active individuals, we never want to miss a workout. But sometimes things pop up and you’re left wondering what to do. In most circumstances, we can exercise with pain. Sometimes modifications are needed or an exercise needs to be avoided all together for a period of time with the intent of working back to it. The second slide is a guide on when you should make adjustments to exercise while in pain. Do know that pain can fluctuate and some days will be better than others.

There are a variety of medications you can make from change the volume, intensity, ROM, using a slower tempo, adding a pause, using isometrics, or changing the exercise. Experiment and find what works for you.

Other things to consider after the session: Does the pain go back to baseline within 24 hours? If yes, you are on the right track. If not, the session was too much and we need to drop back temporarily. Does it affect your sleep? Your daily life? Yes – the session was too much and we need to drop back temporarily. No – great! Keep going. If you are still in pain but doing more than before, you are on the right track.

We established that you can exercise with pain but should you? Is it a good idea? YES! Studies have shown that exercise can help reduce pain. You are also telling your body that it’s ok to move with pain and your violating your expectations that something bad will happen. This information and experience can be used to change your perception of exercise and pain in the future. Hey, I didn’t explode. Things are probably going to be ok.

Exercising with pain generally does not prolong the pain or cause additional issues in the future. People exercising with pain get better on the same time period as those who don’t. Additionally, exercise can be protective against future musculoskeletal issues like arthritis.

If you have questions or concerns or don’t know how to progress, please reach out. In the mean time, tell me your experiences with exercising while in pain.

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