Playing Through Pain

Posted: October 12, 2012 in Articles, Golf, Tip of the Week

No pain, no gain, right? Wrong! The saying “no pain, no gain” in regards to athletic performance and exercise is about as obsolete as the practice of withholding water from athletes during athletic events. The truth is that no pain means you are using your body in optimal movement patterns to accomplish your movement tasks, allowing you to stay injury free. This lets you participate in your physical activities on a more regular basis, giving you more practice, making you a more skilled and more fit person for whatever physical activity it is in which you are a participant. Therefore, no pain equals all the gain!

The problem is that most people are not free of pain. In fact 80% of golfers play in pain, and in my opinion most of the other 20% are not being truthful. I bet of those 20% many of them have some sort of muscle tightness, joint restriction or other pain that they are so used to playing with that they do not view it as pain. However, whether or not someone is aware of their aches and pains, their performance is still impeded. Pain, joint restriction and muscle tightness all cause your body to compensate during movement. Furthermore, these discomforts also are responsible for causing a huge mental distraction during an athletic competition. This can result in a less than desirable performance.

The good news is that you do not have to play in pain. In most cases there are things an athlete at any age can do about the pain they are having. Often times, joint pain is caused by a muscular imbalance, which can be improved through either stretching a muscle group, strengthening a muscle group or a combination of both. It is not uncommon for people to move more comfortably after doing a few simple exercises targeted to improve their posture. Exercise is even recommended to those who suffer from arthritis as a way to reduce pain and increase joint function.

So, what should you do about your pain? My advice would be to begin an exercise program. If you are already on an exercise program, perhaps that program needs an adjustment. Of course, you should only do this after consulting your physician about the status of your ache, pain or injury. However, if you are cleared for physical activity there are a variety of things that trainers, as well as massage therapists, can do to help you move with less pain. If you are a golfer, as a Titleist Performance Institute golf fitness instructor, I am happy to help you with any golf fitness need. In fact, the whole premise of the Titleist Performance Institute is to keep golfers playing pain free, so that golfers can play more often.

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