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Are you in pain? Me too.


Mariah Heller Pain-Free Fitness
The Pain-Free Fitness Manifesto

How can I stay active when I am (or one of my clients is) experiencing pain?


The first step here is to ask ourselves THESE questions about our pain.


1) Where is the pain located?

You should be able to describe the location and point to it. If your pain is regional, try to establish where you think the pain originates (or at least hurts the most).


2) How would you describe the pain?

Use words like "dull," "aching," "sharp," "shooting," "stabbing."


3) Is the pain chronic or acute?

In other words - did the pain appear suddenly, or has it been around for a while?


4) Is the pain present at all times, or only when I do certain things?

Describe this in detail. Sometimes the pain is completely gone some of the time, and sharp when we do certain things. Sometimes it's a dull ache by default, but gets worse after long bouts of sitting, etc etc.. This takes us to our next question.


5) What do I KNOW aggravates this pain? What makes it better?

This one might take a little bit of experimenting. Does your shoulder hurt? Do a few small movements with your shoulder and see what hurts and what doesn't. The next time you're in pain, reflect on what you're doing. The next time you have no pain, try to determine why that might be.


Generally speaking (and with the support of trusty WebMD):


If someone is experiencing a very dull pain or general fatigue, we'd say they are experiencing some soreness or discomfort.


If someone is experiencing a more serious pain that has occurred over the last 48-72 hours, we'd say they are dealing with acute pain; maybe even acute injury.


If someone is experiencing pain that has lasted more than three to six months in length, they are experiencing chronic pain.


Let's talk about it.


Know Your (or Your Trainer's) Scope!


IF someone is experiencing any sort of acute sharp pain, swelling, tingling, numbness...basically ANYTHING that isn't run-of-the-mill soreness...IT IS NOT WITHIN A TRAINER'S SCOPE OF PRACTICE TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, NOR PRESCRIBE ANYTHING.


Therefore, anything beyond good ol' soreness deserves the opinion of a qualified medical practitioner, no matter what.


Anything mentioned in this blog post is a SUGGESTION.


Keep that knowledge as a handy baseline!



Soreness/Discomfort/Fatigue


Soreness, discomfort, or fatigue may be described as a dull and usually generalized "pain."


If you or your client is feeling these sensations:

  1. Avoid doing something that actively aggravates the discomfort.

  2. Work different muscle groups from where you feel the discomfort, if possible (in some cases, this may mean going for a walk instead of intense training).

  3. Resume "normal" activity again once it feels safe.


Acute Pain or Injury


Acute pain/injury would usually be described as a sharp or very noticeable discomfort that has occurred during the last 2-3 days.


If you or your client is feeling these sensations:

  1. Talk to a medical professional.

  2. Avoid aggravating the discomfort, but do what you CAN do.

  3. Consider implementing some corrective/rehab exercises to address the issue.


Chronic Pain


Chronic pain is any type of pain that has lasted longer than 3-6 months. This could have started as an acute injury, or come on gradually over time, OR be due to a genetic/underlying issue.


If you or your client is feeling these sensations:

  1. Talk to a medical professional.

  2. Avoid aggravating the discomfort, but do what you CAN do.

  3. Consider implementing some corrective/rehab exercises to address the issue.

  4. Focus HEAVILY on the "now." Chronic issues can last a LONG time. Be proactive, but focus on working around the issue as best you can. Get creative, develop your personal movement menu, and do the things that you CAN do successfully.


Have a Pain-Free day!


PS: looking for personal coaching or just want a quick strategy session to get you going? Book some time with me HERE!



PPS: have a friend who would benefit from this article? Send it over to them! We'd greatly appreciate it!

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