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Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 | 0 comments

No Pain, No Gain????

The phrase “No Pain, No Gain” originally started in the fitness gym and weight room.

no-pain-no-gain[1]

When taken in the context it was meant, it makes sense.  For reasons unknown to me it also has become a saying in physical therapy.  It definitely should not. The original intent referred to the muscle burn one gets when exercising. This is temporary pain or discomfort, like a burning in the muscles, that goes away very quickly after stopping the exercise movement.

In physical therapy circles when pain is talked about, it is the symptom pain a patient is having which caused them to seek medical help. It is not ok to work into or through symptom pain. This pain is different from the muscle burn in exercise. This is the body’s warning system that something is wrong. The body machine is breaking down. The more a patient tries to push or work through it, the worse it can get. Just because a person has a high pain tolerance, or the kind of mind that will let them ignore the pain doesn’t mean they should. How long would it take to heal a cut finger if every morning you pulled the cut open? It doesn’t matter if you take great care of it the rest of the day. It will not heal.

Physical therapy should encourage good movement patterns, functional exercise, and range of motion. Movement heals. But, it has to be symptom free movement. The goal is to stay active, move, exercise, but without increasing one’s symptoms. This promotes healing. Instead of seeing how much pain you can tolerate, see how much you can do without symptom pain.

In the physical therapy setting, pain = no gain!

If you have any questions, please contact our office.