My wife's friend recommended that I read a book with the above title by Dr Paul Brand, and felt so strongly about it she sent us the book. The book is about Dr. Brand's experience working with individuals with various conditions such as leprosy, diabetes, and congenital nerve disorders that lead to the absence of pain. Upon reading the first couple of chapters, my view of pain had evolved from pain being a nuisance to pain being a healthy part of being alive.
I have always thought of pain as a negative, imperfect part of the human body. I used to think and imagine what I could be capable of if I did not feel pain. I took this philosophy to my professional life as well, focusing on pain management rather than the cause of the pain.
When the yellow or red check engine light goes on in your car, do you disconnect the dash board so the light goes off and keep driving? No, you research what caused the light to go on and get the problem fixed. It is no different with pain in the body. Pain is our check engine light, and if we ignore it, more serious problems will develop. It is very important we determine the cause of pain so that we can remedy the problem early on. Pain is a warning signal for things like lack of flexibility, training without enough recovery, improper training, muscle imbalance, poor form, etc.
One of the coolest things about being an Athletic Trainer at a college is we are available on campus during practices and competition to address these small problems that can lead to big problems later on. Sure, we treat the big problems as well, but we treat them in such a way that we address the underlying problem so we can prevent future injuries.
So, if you are having pain, don't think of the pain as a negative thing, think of the pain as a warning light. Then get go see a health care professional, such as an Athletic Trainer, to determine the nature of the problem and how to fix the problem so you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy most.
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