woman touching her back
Fitness, FitTips

Progressing through Pain

It finally happened. After nearly 30 years of exercise, specifically resistance training, I am experiencing nagging pain. Of course, I self diagnosed myself using Google and my personal training know-how. I’m reasonably sure I have piriformis syndrome, which is aggravating my sciatic nerve on the right side. Basically, I have a pain in the butt! The thing is, I have no idea how it happened, but it has sidelined me from lifting for the last few days.

I was scheduled to take a deload week anyway this week so I’m not that mad about it, but I am frustrated that I am experiencing pain. It all started within hours of turning 48. Hmmm, what does that say? I don’t feel old but now that it hurts to stand up and I find myself grabbing my lower back, all I can hear in my head is, “Oh, my aching back!” (cue the older lady scratchy voice).

I am now working on mobility, foam rolling, and stretching to heal the inflammation. I’m also walking and moving as much as I can because walking alleviates it. Driving exacerbates it, which is unfortunate for a busy, working mom of three whose part-time job is an “Uber” driver. I feel confident I will heal and will be more mindful of stretching and mobility in the future. Things change as we age, after all, and this is a wake-up call that I need to sufficiently warm up and cool down in a way I never had to before. But, what if pain is sidelining you?

First of all, any pain that is not normal for you is cause for alarm. If you are ever unsure, you should definitely contact your doctor. (Do as I say not as I do!) But, if it’s delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), pay attention. Your body is trying to tell you something! DOMS is common especially if you’re new to lifting and/or new to the specific kind of training. It can also happen if you overdo it. While it’s a normal reaction, you do need to take heed. The best thing to do is to take it easy until it subsides. No heavy lifting! Movement is good, however, as it will help your body heal. Make sure you get enough sleep and make good food choices to help your body work through the soreness.

Another common thing I hear from clients is they’ve “tweaked their back” lifting furniture or are experiencing pain after a fall. Basically, they’ve injured themselves. If that’s the case, take a break from training. Let your body heal. Call your doctor, if you are not getting better.

These examples I’m sharing are temporary kinds of pain. Pain should not sideline you forever. If you are experiencing chronic pain, please contact your doctor to figure out what’s going on. But, if it’s passing pain, know that it’s OK to take a break, give your body what it needs, and recuperate. It will not prevent progress, and you will come back stronger than ever!

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