Hurt vs. Harm is a principle I teach my patients to help them understand when pain is good and when it is not. Pain is not something to always fear and avoid, because “hurt” can be just what your body needs. “Hurt” is when you feel achy or sore hours to days after exercise, not during the exercise. “Hurt” is muscular pain found in the body of the muscle, usually in the extremities and the abdominals. This pain is nearly gone when at rest, but becomes painful with the initiation of movement and then better again with sustained movement such as walking.
“Harm” is when pain occurs during the exercise, often in or around a joint or the spine. “Harm” is pain that does not go away with movement and/or continues to get worse with more movement. “Harm” continues to be painful even when your body is at rest.
Harm often occurs because of previous injury, trauma, or poor biomechanics during exercise.
Any of these causes should be reason to cease exercise until the pain has been thoroughly evaluated. Hurt is caused by a good exercise performed too long or without adequate training or when adequate recovery protocols are not followed. The recovery period is when your body repairs damaged muscle and connective tissue to make you stronger. Exercise causes muscle breakdown by creating an inflammatory hormone response with higher cortisol, lower testosterone, and reduced neuromuscular function. The skewed testosterone-to-cortisol ratio and decreased power and strength can last for as long as 60 hours after exercise.
Even though your body is acting to make you stronger, this is a poor anabolic environment. Researchers suggest it’s caused by the combination of large metabolic stress, muscle damage, negative energy balance, and depleted glycogen reserves after intense physical activity. This physiological process occurs after anything that is more strenuous than your regular activities—running, weight training, outdoor chores, house cleaning, etc.
Not only does the body lose strength and power and create scar tissue during this time period, the brain can be effected as well. Often this same post-exercise activity can cause mood disturbances for up to 36 hours after the exercise. Low mood is related to the stress hormone response and possibly to a high degree of muscle damage and soreness.
There are things you can do to decrease pain and perform better. At our upcoming seminar at Fleet Feet (September 14th at 7:15pm) , I’ll give you a few basic steps to follow during the recovery period to maximize recovery, to ensure proper muscle healing and strength gains, and to minimize inflammatory pain. Click here to learn more and join us!
And if you’re in the Southwest Virginia are and considering chiropractic care, call us (540-344-1055) to schedule a consultation at [CORE] Chiropractic and Wellness Center. Our office is located in Downtown Roanoke.
For more information visit us at CoreRoanoke.com.