Having been active in sports since the 2nd Grade, I’ve had my fair share of pain from Baseball, Football, Rugby at Florida State, Racketball, Running, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1994….. yes indeed, there is a difference between being hurt and being injured! It would take a lot of time, I think, to recall all of the hurts, pains, and injuries in my life. Of which, I think, most of them could avoided.
Watching and working with my students over time, it’s always interesting to see how they are working hard, and observing the way they treat their ‘nicks’, their aches and pains. Everyone has their own degree of pain tolerance, and having a very high pain tolerance myself, it can be a double edged sword. Like many of you, I’m guilty of trying to ‘work through’ the pain, and the question is always: “Where do I draw the line?” When do I choose to ‘rest’ or ‘take off’, when I’m in a lot of pain?
In BJJ, if you train a lot, and as you get older you will be sore. That is a given. But, can you tell the difference between being sore, being hurt and being injured? I’m no M.D., but I believe a lot of us are mistaking ‘being sore’ and trying to work past it, and often times overtraining and getting hurt or injured. I’m guilty as charged on this one.
Then sometimes we KNOW that ‘something’ is wrong: shoulder ‘isn’t feeling right’, my ‘knee is tender and quite swollen’…..and we still train. What are the odds of these issues getting better, if we don’t take time to heal up? ZERO….because, duh, we don’t take time to heal up!
Pain Tip #1:
R.I.C.E is great early in the process, but if your training bypasses sore and hurt…..you are going to be injured.
We MUST listen to our bodies, and if we are hurt, we need to step back and take action on the hurts, to keep the ‘injuries’ at bay. Take a break, heal up, and come back better, without having to take months off due to an injury, or possibly ending your sports altogether!
So you will know: This article is written directly to me:
If you know me you know that I am no spring chicken and I’ve had my fair share of health issues, specifically related to pain. In the past few months I actually re-tore my LCL in my right leg. It happened and I did the R.I.C.E. thing for a day or two, and went back to training with my guys. I was not not out of the woods with pain, and I HATE taking any pain relieve meds, over the counter or prescription, but I had to take Tylenol, occasionally just to get some sleep; and as usual, I came back to train and I ‘reinjured’ the already injured knee. Brilliant….
Now it’s time to get serious, right? As a medical device distributor, I have access to many products, all non-prescription. I found an Infrared Light Therapy that seemed to be something that would work for me, as it’s science is sound. I ordered the device, and iced the knee off and on for a few days….until the device came in.
Long story short….I received the device, quit the ice, used it 2x a day for 20 minutes, and by golly my leg was feeling better after only 3 days. A week later it is back to ‘normal’ (I’m an old guy, so nothing is 100% normal! lol), just as it had responded to laser about 6 or 7 years ago at my Chiropractor’s office when I had the first tear.
So here is my point guys and girls. ‘Train hard, train smart and train for Life”, and by training smart, I urge you to do what I wish I had done earlier in my athletic career. Take time to rest. heal the hurts properly (R.I.C.E.), don’t come back to training too early or try to ‘power through it”, get therapy as needed and don’t succumb to unnecessary pain relievers.
I’m a firm believer in Chiropractic, Alternative Medicine and products available for home use, and of course hot-baths with epsom salts and/or ice cold baths (or dips in Mills River up here in N.C.—-it’s COLD!)
When we feel pain, our body is signaling something is wrong…….please listen to it and your career on the mats will be a long one.