Muscular soreness or aching joints aren’t a whole lot of fun but most of the time, they resolve within a couple of days. Worst case, a couple of weeks. But what if the pain lingers? What if the pain doesn’t go away?
Many people learn to live with pain; they shrug and accept it as part of life. My Mum, for example, has been living with some form of pain for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen first hand exactly how pain can interfere with everyday life. Getting out of bed, walking, standing for long periods of time and transitioning in and out of the car, have become almost impossible. On a bad day, my sisters take her shopping in a wheelchair. On a really bad day, she doesn’t even leave the house.
But pain isn’t ‘normal’ and doesn’t have to be accepted as an inevitable consequence of getting older.
When I’m experiencing aches and pains, my first point of call is the team at Function Therapy. I sat down with Assistant Director Max Lagan to find out a bit more about the neuroscience of pain and how to manage it effectively. Here’s what Max had to say.
You’ve probably heard the terms acute pain and chronic pain before but what exactly do they mean?
Acute pain is typically the result of a sudden traumatic injury and is what you feel when you strain a muscle during a run. Your muscle tissue is damaged and needs to repair so your nervous system sends you a message saying “stop that now!” which you receive as pain at the site of injury.
Common symptoms of an acute injury include:
- sudden intense or sharp pain
- obvious physical signs like muscle tearing or dislocation
- limb weakness or inability to bear weight
- difficulty performing a full range of motion.
Depending on their severity, acute injuries, can often be self-managed using a combination of rest, ice packs, compression bandages and pain medication. If it is a more serious injury with an obvious abnormality, it is recommended you see a doctor.
As healing takes place and discomfort lessens, start to move the affected area to promote circulation but avoid anything too painful.
When you have given your body time to heal and you’re able to move around pain-free, it’s time to return to the activity which resulted in injury. It would be wise at this point to consult a Personal Trainer to help you:
- gradually and safely load your body
- your tissue tolerances
- assess pain levels as you progress
- identify the original mechanism of injury and how to perform the movement in a more optimal way.
This way you are less likely to injure yourself again.
Chronic pain is typically the result of a repetitive action performed over a longer period of time with pain setting in gradually over weeks or months rather than all of a sudden. An example of this would be tennis elbow, an overuse injury that affects the tendons around the elbow due to repeatedly swinging a racquet.
Common symptoms to look out for include:
- recurring pain with certain movements
- dull pain that lingers at rest
- pain lasting more than three weeks.
Treatment of chronic injuries can be a bit more complicated. Pain can persist for months or years even after the tissues have finished healing. Nerve pathways can be altered and you will get signals of pain even in healthy tissues.
You need to take the necessary steps to find out what are the key causes triggering the pain and how you can alter your movements or training methods to improve your condition and prevent further discomfort.
An effective approach is to combine remedial massage therapy alongside personal training. A remedial therapist can help reduce pain levels and sensitivity to movements as well as provide beneficial information through movement screening that your personal trainer can use to customise your training program and ensure you continue to improve both your pain levels and your training results. Function Therapy has been working closely with Vitalita Health & Fitness for some time now and the results speak for themselves. Many chronic pain clients are showing positive training outcomes alongside reduced pain levels.
My final piece of advice is to stop pushing through the pain and start making gains.
Nicely said Max!
So, how can Personal Training help get you back into the swing of things after illness or injury?
As a Personal Trainer, a high proportion of clients come to me because they have experienced an injury of some kind: rolled ankles, knee reconstructions, dislocated shoulders, lower back pain, and neck and shoulder tension. I’ve been able to help my clients enhance their recovery by:
- identifying the original mechanism of injury and teaching them how to perform the movement in a more optimal way.
- working with allied health professionals to incorporate specific rehabilitation exercises
- closely monitor movement patterns, frequency and load to ensure the injured muscle or joint isn’t overloaded
- providing tools such as therabands and trigger balls to enhance recovery
- creating a supportive environment in which to rebuild lost confidence.
If you’ve experienced an injury, we’ve created a package to help enhance your recovery, reduce or eliminate pain, improve your flexibility and range of movement.
Reset & Recovery Package
I want to know our clients are getting the support and treatment they need, which is why we’ve teamed up with Function Therapy to create the Reset & Recovery Package. Having been treated by the team at Function Therapy for over six years, we know you’ll be in expert hands!
This life-changing package includes:
- personal training sessions tailored to your unique physical needs
- access to the Vitalita app where you can access workouts 24/7
- consultation and mini-treatment with an experienced Remedial Massage Therapist
- massage ball and exercise band to support your recovery
- nutrition tips and tricks; and
- unlimited email and phone support
The Reset & Recovery package will see a reduction, and in some cases, elimination of pain; improved posture; increased ability to easily accomplish daily activities; an increased range of movement and flexibility and enhanced fitness. It will also help to rejuvenate your mind and emotional wellbeing, leaving you feeling less stressed and more calm and joyful in no time.
Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what my client Bridgette had to say:
I have trained with Sam for four months and have never been so pleased with my results!
I have stopped walking with a limp, I am able to stand up straighter and even lift the washing basket up again. I can now get through daily activities without being in pain. Going down two dress sizes was an added bonus!
Sam is so upfront but caring; he let me cry and pushed me when I needed it. I am so happy being able to get through life, to play with my kids more and just being able to finally do simple tasks easily without having to stop and rest all the time. Sam is the little pocket rocket I needed to help me change.
Get back to doing what you love sooner. Click to get started today!
Max Lagan is a Qualified Remedial Massage Therapist and part-time lecturer.
From a small town in Far North Queensland, Max dabbled in various industries but always had a strong desire to help those in need. Physical therapy was the route he ultimately took as he saw the potential to enrich the lives of others.
Max is passionate about what he does and believes in not just treating the symptoms but helping to educate and empower every person he treats. He is of the opinion that education has longer- lasting and more far-reaching benefits than the treatment itself.