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No Pain, No Gain

 

Brielle Ciucci, PT, DPT

 

 

By Brielle Ciucci, P.T.

 

No pain No gain

 

If you are like me, phrases such as ‘No pain , no gain’,  ‘just walk it off’ or ‘work through the pain’ were common phrases I heard during sports participation, physical education class and time with older cousins (ha ha).  The fact of the matter is, it just isn’t true. When a body sends a signal that something is painful or unstable or hurting, the body is working as it was designed, to warn us of potential damage. This comes to mind more and more as we are starting to see more severe injury in younger and younger kids who are participating at higher levels of sport than we saw 10 years ago. Some of these injuries are ‘career ending’ injuries as young as 10-11 years of age. Many of these injuries are from repetitive motions with high intensity and if not addressed early, can easily become chronic. I will also point out that this is not reserved to the kid participating only in sports, but any child that is engaged in repetitive activity for extended periods of time are subject to this as well. Those who chose video gaming, computer work, texting, long periods of reading, playing/practicing an instrument or a host of other activities, all can result, many times,  in overuse injuries from postural issues and subsequent muscle imbalances.

So what can we do about it? First, help the child learn to listen to their bodies. Pain is a warning signal that something is wrong. The body may only need rest or ice, rest being very important to allow tissues to work their way through the healing process. But, if pain persists then rest may not be enough and other avenues need to be explored.

Second, muscle imbalances play a big role in injury. For most children their bodies are in a constant state of change, both mentally and physically. As they are growing in both height and weight the sensors that send information about muscle length, joint position, balance and coordination are constantly in flux trying to adjust to these changes. The body needs time to adjust and ‘play’ with these changes, and too much of one particular activity does not allow the body to do this optimally which leads to muscle imbalance. In physical therapy we see this typically in the form of knee, shoulder, ankle and back injury but it is certainly not limited to these body areas. A variety of activity, even for a more sedentary child is important for proper muscle development and support.

Last, if your child has a symptom that has lingered for more than a week, seek professional guidance. It is always better to assess the injury sooner than later. A child’s body is unbelievably skilled at compensating and protecting itself, it’s the way they are made to develop, but this can lead to a longer recovery in the end.

Pain is a warning signal that we should not ignore not just for the children we may know but for ourselves as well. We welcome your questions and have Complimentary Screens and Injury Assessment available as all of our locations to help you get back to the activities you enjoy.

 

 

 


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