It’s not pleasant. Mental or physical, pain is just that – PAIN! We all deal with it differently. Some of us have a very high tolerance for pain, while others, just the slightest bump or scrape sends them reeling into submission.
Let’s talk a bit about physical pain. Maybe you have it now, or maybe you’ve had it in the past and right now it’s in “remission”. I’m certain just about everyone out there has experienced some level of pain, and there most certainly are different levels and stages of pain. There’s the “oooo, that didn’t feel right” and the “holy crap I think I broke something”. Or how about the “it feels like a toothache – it’s just there” or “it only hurts when I do this…”.
We live in a world filled with stress, stress that wreaks havoc on our body and mind. For many of us, our outlet for dealing with that stress is….well, it’s more stress! The stress I’m referring to is in the form of physical fitness, specifically CrossFit. We are the 1-percenters – we push ourselves to the limit and we do so on a regular basis. And even though the workouts we do make us feel good and improve our physical well-being, we’re still placing a crap-load of stress onto our already stressed-out bodies. We’re bound to experience one of those “oooo” or “holy crap” pain moments. What we need to be able to do is identify exactly which level of pain we are experiencing and deal with it accordingly and in a timely manner. Maybe it’s just a technique flaw that is causing the pain. Or it could be as simple as a bad case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness – soreness at a level you are not used to) and you need a rest day. Or maybe, just maybe is it really that something BAD that has happened and it should be looked at by a professional, like NOW.
Realizing where you are on that pain scale is important for proper recovery and continued success in your CrossFit journey. Pain (no matter what level) should not be overlooked or ignored. “Eh, it’s nothing, I can deal with it” usually turns into “crap, I wish I had that looked/taken a few days off”. There’s no reason to be a hero, so don’t try to be one, at least when it comes to working with pain.
There are times when there’s really nothing you can do about the pain you are experiencing and you JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. There’s a term in CrossFit – “universally scalable”. We usually use that in reference to age and ability, but it also pertains to those in pain or with limitations. We are able to modify and scale movements that may be problematic for you so that you can continue your CrossFit journey.
And more often than not, DOING PHYSICAL EXERCISE WILL ACTUALLY REDUCE YOUR LEVEL OF PAIN. Endorphins, the bodies natural pain-relievers are released every time you exercise. Over time your mobility and flexibility improves, your physical well-being improves, and subsequently your mental state improves. And sometimes that nagging pain just seems to disappear.
I’m not saying that exercise is the answer to your ailments…what I’m saying is you need to identify where you are on the pain scale both physically and mentally and ask yourself “am I going to do more harm by doing something, or is doing nothing the answer”.
Remember – the only limits are those you put on yourself.