The Problem of Pain?

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Last week I saw a television commercial for a pill that takes your pain away. The idea made me laugh out loud. Person after person testified to the success of this pill. Someone claimed to be a doctor. Another guy claimed to be a research scientist advocating the product. No one explained precisely how the drug eliminated pain, if there were any side effects, or gave a recommended dosage. All anyone said was the pill took your pain away, and it cost $39.99 a bottle. 

Ladies and gentlemen, nothing significant in life can happen without pain.

Necessary Pain

I’m not a stoic or a fatalist when I say pain is a necessary part of life. Humans aren’t born without pain. Pain lets us know when we’re too close to a fire or when we need to move away from something before we get seriously hurt. Pain even lets us know when to see a doctor in many cases. In books and movies, you always know when someone will die — it’s the exact moment when the person no longer feels any more pain.

Good News! Some Pain Is Avoidable

Specifically, I’m talking about the pain that, for many people, is associated with moving. In health and fitness circles, we often discuss the pain-compensation cycle phenomenon. Not to get too technical, our bodies work like gears. When we stretch, foam roll, and exercise, we keep the gears greased, and we can move without pain. When we don’t, the gears get gummed up, and moving becomes more challenging and complex until it becomes painful. Then we compensate our movements to avoid the pain and move in strange ways that result in more pain. So the cycle continues.

This is why we need to keep moving all our lives. 

But Exercise Hurts

A ton of research supports the fact that proper exercise prevents pain. Sure, training can get incredibly uncomfortable. If you’re in excruciating pain, then you’re doing it wrong. However, it’s undeniable that exercise, stretching, and foam rolling keep the gears greased and our bodies pain-free. Many people suffer from the pain-compensation cycle. The way free at that point will involve some temporary pain. Keke warned us last week about getting to the point where we can be trapped in our bodies because we aren’t moving and stretching and doing what’s good for ourselves. 

There’s no magic pill to take away physical pain with no side effects. Forget what the television ads show you.

But isn’t your freedom worth some momentary discomfort?

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