No Pain No Gain, Part Two

Last time I looked at why no pain no gain might not be a good idea for “normal” people doing activities and sports. However that may be important it’s not where the real problems with this approach lie.

It’s in pain conditions that no pain no gain becomes a critical issue. A person with a pain condition is different from someone who has pain from an acute (recent) injury. In chronic (long term) pain everything is different.

In chronic pain the central nervous system acts as an amplifier and is highly sensitive to a wide range of incoming messages, interpreting many of them as pain. The pain is highly irritable. This means it is very easy to stir up, severe when present and takes a long time to settle down.

This puts the person with chronic pain at risk from getting stuck in a vicious circle of pushing themselves and suffering severe pain and reduced activity.

Once the pain has subsided after a period of enforced inactivity the person is again at risk of overdoing the tolerance levels of their central nervous system nerves. For this group of people no pain no gain is not only an unhelpful idea, it’s positively disabling.

Pushing to get things done leads inevitably to increased disability, to doing less and less, to having more and more pain, to getting so much less out of life than possible.

Pushing beyond your tissue tolerances, whether it’s your Achilles tendon or your central nerves, always leads to undesirable consequences.

That’s why I hate no pain no gain, because it’s unnecessary in normal circumstances and harmful to people with injuries or pain conditions. Pacing is a much better alternative I will be covering soon.

So do you have any stories of how you overdid it madly and suffered badly afterwards? Leave a comment for me.

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