Pain Is Your Check Engine Light
If you have an injury, it is not a good idea to continue running through pain. Nor is it advised that you take medication to alleviate (and therefore masking) pain without other intervention. For example, when the check engine light goes on in a car, it is always a good idea to have your car serviced by a mechanic to find the problem and correct it. The body is similar, only it uses pain as its check engine light. Pain is the signal to the brain that informs you something is wrong. With your car, if you were to continue driving with the check engine light on, the problem will not get fixed and there is a good chance more problems may occur. Same thing goes for your body! Furthermore, if you continue to run with an injury while masking it with pain relieving medication, you are putting yourself at a high risk for a more severe injury. Always consult with your primary care or sports medicine physician when pain occurs before continuing your normal running program.
Upon Return from Injury – Slow & Steady Wins the Race
It is typically okay to start a gradual running and strength program when pain is no longer being experienced and full range of motion has been restored. The key word is gradual! Trying to return to running too quickly drastically increases the risk of re-injury. If it is an injury you are seeing a medical doctor or receiving rehabilitation for, be sure all medical professionals have cleared you to begin such activity. While you may be chomping at the bit to get back in action, slow and steady wins the race in this case, or at least keeps you healthy and able to run in the race!
Mercy Clinic Sports Medicine offices are located at 15945 Clayton Road, Suite 210 (Phone: 636-893-1360) and 633 Emerson Road, Suite 20 (Phone: 314-325-3068).