Disclaimer: I am will not be talking about pain as in broken bones. I am talking about pain like muscle soreness, joint aches, and annoying twinges.
When I sit down for consultations, the first thing people bring up is usually something like “I have a bad back”, “I have shoulder pain”, “My knees hurt sometimes”, or some kind of pain that bothers them and has kept them from working out in the past.
Here is the deal, you are not your pain. 85% of the time these aches and pain are from the lack of use and movement. This does not mean go and be a hooligan and throw weight around. This means use the movements the muscle is meant to perform, with little to no weight, and then progress from there.
Another thing that might be happening is that you have muscles that are turned off. This is called an ischemic muscle. An ischemic muscle means that blood flow has been restricted, and it is no longer fully functioning. Most people will describe this as a “crunchy muscle”. If blood is not able to flow through the muscle, it is not going to work. Let’s say that there is a muscle around your knee that is ischemic. Muscles are what hold your knees where they are supposed to be, and if one of your muscles around your knee isn’t working, it will not be held in the correct place, causing tracking issues. This could become a problem when squatting. This will also lead to muscles being overworked to make up for the muscles that are not working, causing a domino effect or overworked and underworked muscles.
I think that most people also tend to work around the muscles that don’t feel great, and this is not always the best option. Sometimes that pain is an indication that something needs to be strengthed. Again, please don’t take anything in the post as medical advice and start doing crazy things. This all has to be assessed first. When I train I watch natural movement patterns, as well as listen to you. I know the listening part seems like a normal thing to do, but you would be surprised how many times I hear “my past trainer just didn’t listen”.
If we want to look at the hippie-dippie side of things, which I normally do, the more you live in that pain, the longer it will stay. If you keep telling yourself that you have back pain, your body will make sure that you have back pain. Don’t keep telling yourself this. Tell yourself that your pain is getting better. Your body will listen to this! Don’t put your focus on your pain. I know it’s easier said than done, but what’s the harm in trying?