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Pain Avoidance and Masking

Avoidance and masking are not doing you, your body, or your training any favors!

It is not uncommon for people to take some type of anti-inflammatory or ibuprofen to resolve pain issues they are dealing with.  If not medication, many people are now using CBD to provide pain relief. I’m not saying those are bad methods by any means. For several days to take down the inflammation, that can be a great idea.  When it becomes long term use, that’s when it becomes an issue.

The statement I frequently hear from people is “I’m doing great!  As long as I take the anti-inflammatories I can (insert activity) without pain.”  And these statements are normally coming 3-4 months after they are injured. In some cases, the individual is seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor without good results.  In other cases, medication, ice, and simple stretches is all that is being done.

Can you relate to this?  Either in your past or perhaps currently?

If you are several months into a soft tissue injury – muscle strain, tendinitis, IT band pain, etc. – and are still requiring anti-inflammatory medication to control your symptoms, it is time to find a new solution.  If you have completely changed your training in order to avoid the pain, it is definitely time to find a new solution!

What is the new solution?  Finding the source of the pain!

I honestly love when people tell me they are seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor already, because it means they are working to find answers the right way and not just train through pain.  The problem I often see, though, is the clinicians are not searching out the cause of the issue. They are spot treating the symptoms and area of pain, but not looking at what contributed to the issues in the first place.  THIS is why the pain symptoms never fully resolve.

Yes, you know where the pain is, but that doesn’t mean it is causing your symptoms.  Most times with muscle and tendon issues, the actual cause is NOT the strain or tendinitis itself.  The cause is often something mechanical – meaning how your body is moving.

So, how do we unravel this mess?  By taking time to see how the body is moving in space during the activity that triggers the pain.

  • If it is a running injury, doing a running assessment to see what the entire body is doing.  A full body assessment provides the ability to see what faults or compensations are occurring throughout the body that may be triggering the pain issues.
  • If it is a shoulder injury, seeing what the body is doing when hanging, pulling from the ground, lifting overhead, etc.  Taking time to see how the body is shifting, what muscles are not firing in proper sequence, and what movement faults are occurring due to habits are what will clear up the issues once and for all.
  • If it is a back injury, doing an assessment of squats, deadlifts, and other pulling type motions gives great incite to what compensations and habitual movement faults are taking place and contributing to the constant flare ups.

The caveat to all of this is many clinicians and coaches miss these faults.  Unless they are skilled at working with athletes and are good at looking at the details in movement patterns, many of these compensations and faults will be overlooked.

As an athlete, it is essential that you seek out a clinician who is skilled at working with athletes in the sport you are involved in.  I’m not saying you can’t get better with a clinician that is not, but your chances of breaking the pain cycle and getting back to training like you want will come faster and will likely be more successful long term if you do.

Can you relate to this?  Are you ready to break the cycle?  Let’s get on a call to see what you can do differently about it.  You can book a free call with me here:

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