Is exercising with pain bad?

A man sitting on the floor holding his knee that is in pain | Featured image on ITB Friction Syndrome.

Is exercising with pain bad?

Exercising While In Pain

People frequently come to Physiotherapy and ask if they are able to exercise while in pain. This usually stems from a concern that they may be causing more “damage” by doing so.

This is often due to the belief that pain means something is ripped, torn or damaged in some way. If it hurts more, then there must be more damage occurring right? and if this is true shouldn’t I should avoid hurting it?

It might not be this simple.

People in pain after an injury often find their daily tasks and meaningful activities painful.  But trying to avoid these activities can be both awkward and upsetting for the patient, and might not be necessary. This is because pain is multifactorial and includes more than just the state of the tissue.  People’s fears, expectations, beliefs as well as tissues sensitivity factor into the pain experience.

This means the state of the tissue or injury may not be the biggest factor in your pain.

Why is this important?

It matters because knowing the answer may give us the opportunity to keep participating in our hobbies and completing our daily tasks to the best of our ability.

Thankfully current research offers us a positive answer. Exercising within “tolerable” amounts of pain has been demonstrated to be safe for individuals, as well as beneficial. It allows individuals not only the ability to continue exercise/activities that are important to them, but also allows them to maintain more strength and range in the short term.

The Nitty Gritty

Current research into exercising into “tolerable” amounts of pain uses subjective pain scores to measure this, with the visual analogue scale being the preferred method (rates pain between 1-10). Pain that is rated between 3-5/10 on this scale is considered tolerable and safe, with the caveat to this is to make sure the pain settles within 3-5 hours and is not any worse the following day.

If you are experiencing pain, or would like more information on this topic, don’t hesitate to book in and speak to a fully qualified exercise physiologist or physiotherapist at Pivotal Motion. Call us on 07 3352 5116 or book online today!


Call Now Button