is pain the best teacher?

Is Pain the Best Teacher?

When one is in pain they tend to move away, adjust, shift order, or even exclude movement. But can the pain be telling you something? Is pain the best teacher?

Maybe pain isn’t telling you that you’re doing something wrong, but that you’re just not ready for that full range movement, or that your range of motion has to be a more gradual progression not be 0 to 60 right out the gate.

My Experience

In June 2015 I experienced a dislocation of my knee. I was moving lateral down a rocky hill and as I progressed down that hill I experienced the dislocation in my right leg.  My foot stayed in place as I kept moving and that’s where my knee experience came with the very loud pop and I felt the top of my leg and the bottom of my leg literally separate.

Next came the swelling, but during the race my endorphins and adrenaline were so high all of that was ignored so I kept on going. The next few days my leg was swollen to the size of a softball and kept getting bigger.

The swelling went above the top of my thigh to the base of my knee basically kept me from using my knee.

That’s where the pain came in and that’s where the pain started showing me how far I should move.

I basically overworked my leg instead of concentrating on stability, strengthening, and even most of all giving it rest I kept working it till I over trained it and my knee gave out, so is pain the best teacher…………. I say yes. Now here’s why.

Why Pain is the Best Teacher

Any time you experience an injury of some sort or a discomfort, the measurement of pain present will let you know if you are running close to an area that your body’s threshold cannot withstand in that current range of motion.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the range of motion that you are completing is incorrect it just means that you cannot support that range of motion at the current time. You will need longer time of training to include programming, periodization, rest, recovery, rehab, or even low impact cardiovascular training.

Now if something hurts, should you continue with what you’re doing?

Yes you should and safely, take your pain and give it a scale one through 10. Ten being the highest pain and you cannot even deal with at all and one being you feel it, but it’s more of a nuisance than it is painful.

Obviously we don’t want to be in the 10, but if the range of motion is in a 10, aim to decrease that range of motion. Increase the quality of movement being careful not to deviate the movement.

Doing that will put you into something called the “Cumulative Injury Cycle” where a deviation occurs, then the movement compensation, and possibly incur another potential injury or worsen an existing.

That cycle will continue to circle back and forth back and forth until your body either gives up or gives out. How can you fix it?

Listen to the pain. When entering a movement feel the pain, scale it 1-10 and then find where you can comfortably increase the movement with control, steady speed, and most of all fully without compensating or deviating.

When the pain from 10 decreases down to one, then you can change the pieces add balancing, stability, unconventional tools adding more weight is just adding more weight into the pain. Your goal is to decrease the pain and increase its ability and not increase the weight to increase the pain.

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Joseph Bautista

Joseph Bautista

I am a 3rd Generation Black belt (Kajukenbo) instructor and competitor, an Obstacle Course Racer (OCR), and I have an unconventional approach for functional fitness. including my unique style of fitness I have also worked with some of the best martial artists in the world for self defense, competitive fighting, and overall conditioning. LEARN MORE

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