The pain that’s worth it (by Dana McMahan)

Things happen to your body when you introduce it to hard work. Since leaving college, I’ve had desk jobs, and 40+ hours a week sitting down for over a decade with little strenuous activity left my muscles about as powerful as a kitten’s. Going from 0 to 60 in seemingly Ferrari speed has had an impact.

I squatted 130 pounds for four reps this past week — that’s almost a quarter more than my body weight, and working up to that level has been intense. Add to that benching, dead lifts, jump rope, chin-ups, rows, dips, kettlebells, box jumps and all the other activity that goes into my training and you’ll understand why the other night after my husband yet again rubbed muscle ointment (great stuff I brought home from Thailand) into my painful parts, he said, “Why don’t you go bang your head against the wall? Since it’s the only part of you that doesn’t hurt you may as well make it even.” I laughed, but he had a point. I hurt, rather a lot, every day and night right now. Is it ok that I’m doing this to my body?

I saw Dr. Kyle this weekend and ran down my litany of issues: left wrist (the one I sprained at kickboxing in Bangkok) hurts when I bench, back of my left knee feels like I had the sh*t kicked out of it, right calf has a big ball of pain, and my hip flexors always, always hurt. He carefully examined each area and treated each with a combination of ART, Graston, and Kinesio Taping.

And while that will make me feel better physically, he also put my mind at rest. “It’s far better to be causing yourself pain in the process of conditioning than to hurt yourself because you’re not conditioned,” he said. Such a good point. I remember when moving the couch across the living room would cause back pain that would practically incapacitate me for days. He added that nothing he saw was cause for concern, that it’s to be expected when a person begins hard training that their body will react this way. And treating it quickly is the best approach. I left with with a couple strips of blue Kinesio tape that will help my wrist and knee in the days to come, but more importantly, with the knowledge that the benefit of my hard work far outweighs the pain.

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