Psychology

Pain Science: Experiencing and Dealing with Pain

Pain science still has so much to explore when it comes to explaining to us how we experience, manage, and recover from pain.

Tito Thornton

December 1, 2018

Pain science still has so much to explore when it comes to explaining to us how we experience, manage, and recover from pain. It’s real easy for us to go to the “15-min fix” check-ups or the quick fixes of rolling on a foam roller to provide the sensation of relief on a “tight” muscle.Our experiences with pain is a complex mix of psychological systems and physiological variables. If you find yourself constantly working on relieving pain or tight muscles the you have to ask yourself is this an actual solution or am I becoming dependent to these temporary solutions? The solutions are complex and sometimes requires to just accept and listen to what the pain is telling our bodies and that is what this article is going to cover, give you a better understanding on how to manage and recover from pain. Apart of having a better experience with pain is understanding it.

The problem with these quick solutions and 15 min fix appointments is that over time and in a very quick time span it causes you to become dependent. Dependent to the point that the slightest discomfort the knee jerk or first  action is to roll out, stretch, electrically stimulate or rush to the chiro table to get your quick fix. Yes, there are moments when rolling out has its benefits when you want to that annoying crick out your sub-scap area or that pinching sensation from your hip flexors to go away. Yes, there are times when going in to see a DPT or practitioner to provide you with knowledge and insight on a problem area is beneficial to you understanding how to manage your pain. I won’t disagree with that because I myself use it and preach it. The problem lies when we go all the way to other side of the pendulum and roll out everyday before a training session, or go in multiple times of month for a 10 min session that is going to require you to come back next week. We have to break these dependency habits and understand that the pain that we are experiencing isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t require an automatic fix right in that moment.

Pain is a very complex topic and there will be a more comprehensive article on how we experience pain and what the current research on pain science is discussing will be coming. For now I want you all to understand that pain during a training cycle, meet prep, and practice is apart of life and is going to happen and there is no amount of preparation that we can do to avoid it 100%, there is not bulletproofing your body, there is no pain-free solution or injury-prevention plan that will keep you from experiencing pain. There is pain management and acquiring/having the knowledge to empower yourself to take control of your pain. All we can do is accept our pains and learn how to manage it through seeking our professional help from the experts and practitioners in the field. Understand that the pain you are experiencing is a signal for you to change whatever is that you are doing that is causing that experience, either change your positions, reduce the weight, not perform the movement/action or actually rest and let your body recover. Sometimes the best solution to resolving pain is rest ( that's another topic for later as well). DO NOT FEAR the pain you are experiencing, embrace it and listen to it. SEEK out help to what could be potentially causing the pain and have whomever is helping you explain what is happening and what actions YOU can do to manage the pain, CHANGE and ADAPT whatever is that you are doing; practice different movement patterns or try to improve your movement patterns as well. Lastly if you are putting yourself through the trenches of training LEARN to TAKE BREAKS and REST, apart of the recovery process and if you aren’t getting the adequate amount of rest then reevaluate how you can incorporate more rest for your system. Moral of all of this is learn to find balance in your training and in your recovery, seek to empower yourself and take control of your pain don’t fear it, and know that the pain you’re experiencing is just apart of life and the process.

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