CHRONIC PAIN – SHOULD I PUSH THROUGH?
IS IT OKAY TO PUSH THROUGH PAIN?
Those with chronic musculoskeletal pain are often anxious, worried or hesitant about performing exercise or movements that may elicit pain. Clinicians are often equally hesitant in prescribing exercises that cause pain for these people, which leads to fear avoidance, kinesiophobia and deconditioning.
However we know that all pain is a production of our central nervous system (CNS), and therefore hurt does not always equal harm. So why do we have this fear and belief that all pain is bad and should be avoided?
A systematic review of the literature has concluded that exercising into pain offers a significant benefit over pain-free exercises in the short term (Smith et al., 2017). In opposition to this idea, there is no evidence or published research that says exercising into pain is bad or harmful for us.
Pain does not equal tissue damage, and should not be feared. Pain is a normal protective response created by our CNS, and pain during exercise should not be a barrier to successful outcomes.
Always consult a health professional if you are unsure (as there are still certain times when it is not ideal to push through pain).
Take Home Message: Exercise is medicine, and can still be safe, beneficial and therapeutic despite some amounts of pain!
B. Health Sciences (Physio), APAM