When thinking about aging and living a long healthy life without limits, I encourage you to challenge the status quo by hiring a trainer with a background in pain science. The beauty of this tip is this is not someone who you have to stay with forever. Instead, you can think about this as leveling up for a period of time to increase your muscle, bone, and joint health. Most importantly, you will increase your knowledge about your body and what truly matters when aging.
Let’s start by talking about pain science. What is it? Why does it matter? First and foremost, when someone has pain, it can be easy to catastrophize that pain or avoid activities that make it feel worse. Duh, why wouldn’t you do that? In the last decade, the field of pain science has come a long way to show us that if we avoid or catastrophize pain, our risk of disability greatly increases. This is not just one of those things where we are suggesting you put your real fears and feelings aside. Instead, it requires work, like all good things in life. Let’s talk about the top three ways we can reframe pain:
Hire a trainer, clinician, or practitioner trained in pain science. The goal is to increase your education around pain so you feel confident in what’s happening. You will learn to trust your body and re-identify unhelpful beliefs around pain. We have trainers trained in pain science, as well as a network of amazing people we can refer you to you.
Emotional Regulation: Pain is not usually a feeling that is contained within itself. Pain is typically coupled with other emotions, such as anger, frustration, etc. To start tackling this arena, follow “Curable Health” on Instagram. They have amazing content that will help validate what you are feeling. Know that what you are feeling is okay and completely valid. Pain is frustrating.
Choose an exercise that you feel confident and comfortable doing, and do it! Here is an example. Do your knees hurt when you sit down and stand up from a chair? What if you make the chair much higher? Does it still hurt? If not, find a height where you feel super confident in the exercise, grab a weight and let’s get moving!
Get creative with moving your body and find something you are comfortable with. Meet your body where it is at. Whatever that may be, challenge yourself to do a movement. We typically recommend starting with 6-10 reps, then taking a break and doing that again 1-2 more times.
One of the most important things when it comes to pain management is communication. If you work with a trainer, practitioner, or clinician, it is important you feel comfortable communicating with them and that you feel heard. Navigating pain is not something that happens on its own but, instead, a journey that requires an individual approach for each person.
If you are someone who is experiencing pain then the field of pain science will help you manage living a long, healthy life where you don't feel as limited by your body.
Image: Compliments of Dr. Craig Liebenson and Dr. Howard Luks.