Pain Versus Injury: Understanding the Signals Your Body Sends You

Pain Versus Injury: Understanding the Signals Your Body Sends You

When you face an injury, the big question is: Can you keep training? 

Is it okay to work through the pain? In episode 358 of the Sound Of Movement podcast, we talked with a sports physiotherapist who knows a lot about pain. We looked deep into what pain is and how to keep training when you're hurt.

We talked about Patrick, who is a trauma surgeon. At 68, he had his hip replaced. Only three months after, he was walking and even lifting weights! He shows us how strong our bodies can be.

We also talked about something called "injury identity." This idea means that sometimes, when we get hurt a lot, we start to think of ourselves as just an injured person. I know this well because I used to be a competitive athlete, and I got hurt a lot. People knew me as 'the injured guy.' I felt like I would always be in pain and not be able to do fun activities.

But things changed when I started going to the gym. I got stronger, and my pain got less. I felt better and started to enjoy sports again. This change didn't just happen to me. I've seen it with lots of people I work with.

But, what is pain, really? How does it change the way we train or get better after being hurt? Let's dive into these questions.

We often mix up 'injury' and 'pain' as if they are the same. But they're not. 'Injury' is when there's actual damage to your body. 'Pain' can be from injury, but it's also about how we feel and think. Understanding this can help us get better both in our bodies and minds.

The Tale of Triumph: Patrick's Journey

Let's start with a story about a man named Patrick. At 68 years old, he's a skilled surgeon, helping others get better every day. But Patrick faced his own health battle. His hip was hurting him so much that he needed a hip replacement. This kind of surgery is big, and it can take a long time to heal from. But Patrick didn't just want to get back on his feet; he wanted to lift himself back to strength.

Just three months after his operation, Patrick amazed everyone. He wasn't only walking; he was back in the gym, lifting weights! Most people would take it easy, but not him. With careful moves and a strong will, Patrick worked his muscles, not just around his new hip but all over his body. His doctors gave him the green light, and Patrick listened to his body, making sure not to push too hard.

Seeing Patrick lifting weights might make you think, "Isn't he scared of getting hurt again?" He's not, because he knows the difference between good pain and bad pain. Good pain means his muscles are growing stronger. Bad pain would mean stopping and checking in with his doctor. Luckily, Patrick only felt the good kind.

Patrick's story is more than just about getting better after surgery. It's a lesson in what we can do when we set our minds to it. It shows us that no matter our age, our bodies have a surprising power to recover and grow strong. His journey is a shining example for anyone who's facing a tough time healing. It's a message that says, "Yes, you can do this too!"

What is "Injury Identity"?

Now, let's talk about "injury identity." This is a big deal for many of us. For me, I was always 'the injured guy' because of my sports injuries. It felt like that's all I was known for.

I was stuck feeling broken and kept thinking my future was just pain and not being active. But then, I found the gym. Working out made me stronger and the pain started to go away. I went from feeling broken to feeling strong.

Pain Vs. Injury: What's the Difference?

It's important to know that pain and injury are not the same. Injury means something in the body got hurt. But pain? That's more complex. It's a signal that might not always mean danger.

Learning from Pain

One night, after I burned my hand, I remembered what I learned about pain. I told myself the burn was not dangerous anymore. I focused on that thought. Amazingly, the pain got less, and I could sleep.

Rewiring the Brain's View on Pain

Just like I learned to think differently about my burn, people with phantom limb pain learn to think differently about their pain. This helps them feel better without needing more medicine.

Changing Our Brain About Pain

We can teach our brain that it's okay to move even when we feel pain. At Unity Gym, we help people do this with special exercises. This can make pain less and let people do more.

What's Next?

As we move forward, remember that every person is different. We always find the best way for each person at Unity Gym. We help them move better, feel better, and enjoy life.

Listen to the full episode now!

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