Understanding the Purpose of Pain
Pain functions like a smoke detector. It’s a warning signal that lets you know damage has been done. Once those alarm bells start ringing they’re designed to motivate you to take action. Ignoring the signal will only make the problem grow.
Here’s an example. Do you remember your first leg day in the gym? Chances are you had some intense post-exercise soreness. This is because you put a massive amount of new stress on your muscles. They couldn’t handle it, and got damaged. When damage occurs inflammation (a chemical smoke signal) is released. Your body perceives this as pain. Why? To get you to stop using your sore limbs in order to recover. The result is your body will super-compensate by laying down more muscle than you had before. Once the pain goes away, you’ve recovered and are now stronger. This means you can do more of that same activity without causing the same level of damage.
That’s what you want to happen. More commonly, we’re not that interested in what our bodies are telling us. We are motivated to squeeze in extra mileage, seeking out further gains. What ends up happening in this scenario is we don’t fully recover. We continue to workout the same muscles even though our bodies are telling us they’re still sore.
This is how problems accumulate. Ignoring pain is damaging and dangerous. It leads to a rushed recovery process. The most common result is adhesion. Instead of growing stronger muscles, your body patches up injured areas with cheap connective tissue. This begins to act like glue making them weaker and tighter. Now instead of that workout being easier, you’re finding it’s harder. Instead of just having pain after workout, you may notice pain during workout.
At this point most of us recognize there’s a problem. We start ramping up the use of recovery aids such as foam rollers, ice/heat, massage, etc. When that stops working we start using over the counter pain pills, topical ointments, and kinesiotape. What do all these tactics have in common? They don’t work. The result is more damage and more pain. Time to switch to more expensive options like cortisone shots, prescription pain meds, botox, and nerve burning.
During this process you’re digging a deeper hole. It’s not only adhesion you have to worry about anymore. The joints in your body begin to degenerate. Degeneration is not reversible. It can only be slowed down and managed. That smoke has turned into a fire. The house is burning down.
It’s time to call in an expert. A good health care provider will work to find the cause of your problem, rather than numb the pain. Dangerous health care ignores this crucial step and simply makes you feel better for a few hours/days by, “turning off the smoke detector.”
Good news! Dr. Doug Rawlick is an expert at finding and fixing adhesion.
Call 780-482-2738 and find out how we can help.