Staying Fit Isn’t Always Pain-Free
Total fitness is a lifelong journey of balancing exercise, diet and lifestyle to allow your body to function at its highest potential. The only intruder we can’t defend against, the one guy that never loses, is Father Time. Along the way – just for fun, I assume – he likes to offer out painful little reminders that you’re not getting any younger. That pain comes in two varieties: chronic and acute.
You don’t have to be old to manage chronic pain. If you’ve led an active lifestyle or have an athletic background, chances are that you’re carrying around some reminders of those times in the form of recurring soreness. It could be a bad knee, bum ankle or ache from orthopedic surgery decades ago. In the fitness industry, we do our best to understand the chronic aches and pains of our clients and either strive to reduce those chronic conditions or work around them so you can enjoy the other 99% of your body that looks and feels great.
Coming up with solutions to work around them is the mark of a proactive and thoughtful fitness professional. Today, however, let’s discuss the sneakier type of pain, the kind that usually shows up unannounced.
Chronic v Acute Pain
Acute flare-ups aren’t usually tied to a specific traumatic event: you either sat up too quickly, you slept on your neck wrong or one of your knees just starts acting up. Plus, it’s more infuriating because it’s a lot more searing and severe than chronic pain, and it’s accompanied by feelings of helplessness. Even though the pain is enough to debilitate someone temporarily, the majority of the anguish can be mental. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to overcome it.
Get Your Mind Right
If you’ve lived long enough, you know what one of these episodes feel like. They’re uncomfortable and short of managing the pain with ibuprofen, you don’t feel like there’s anything you can do about it. The second part isn’t exactly true, but the path to recovery starts with acceptance.
When you come to terms with this pain, it becomes incredibly easier to manage. Accept that the pain is short-term (depending on the flare-up, it could range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks) and you’ll come out the other side. Next month, I’ll discuss how to effectively manage one of these acute flare-ups through home therapy, making the best use of your fitness regimen and maybe a little physical therapy.
In the meantime, get some ice on it.