We inevitably do something that hurts us. Whether it be in training, or in regular old life, we feel it at some point. Sometimes, we don’t even know why it hurts. That’s when we end up with chronic pain. You might have slept wrong, maybe you kept a wallet in your back pocket for years, maybe you don’t know why your knee hurts, it just does, but we’ve probably all felt it at some point. I’d like to help you out here if you are feeling pain currently. This might be something you already know, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

If you hurt and don’t know why, you probably have some sort of movement dysfunction or compensation that isn’t allowing your body to function optimally. Then, if you decide to do more movement, like physical exercise, without moving optimally, your body may in fact get worse, when you are trying to get it better. This is problematic, wouldn’t you say? There is hope, though! With this short guide, you’ll be able to help yourself not only identify possible causes of why you hurt, but also adopt some strategies to help you get out of that pain. With that hope, I have some questions for you. Before I start, let me just say that this isn’t all inclusive. There could be other things going on, and there could be other solutions, but these are great places to start. Let’s begin!

Alright, so the first thing you need to do is understand WHEN it hurts. We already know at this point you probably have movement dysfunction or sub-optimal movement patterns. Is it all the time? Is it only when you turn your head or lunge, or go down stairs? You’ve got to fully identify the situations that cause more pain. If you don’t know that, you don’t really know anything. Once you kinda figure that out, we can move to the next step.

Sometimes you may need to massage certain muscles to provide relief. Have you been doing that? If it’s a joint pain, are you trying to figure out if there are muscles above and below the joint that feel incredibly tight or even painful? If that’s the case, then you’ll need to adopt a foam rolling/massage strategy. Figure out what muscles are tight and try to get them to calm down. Do this consistently.

Back to the movement dysfunction. What about your movement needs to be improved? Do you not have good range of motion in your shoulders? Does your knee cave in when you squat? Do your feet turn out and collapse when you exercise? Those can be indications of why this is happening in the first place. If you have rounded shoulders and you try to push heavy weight overhead, you are probably going to develop pain because your shoulders won’t want to do that. If you have knee pain and you try to apply pressure in a squat or going down stairs decelerating and putting that pressure there sub-optimally, you are going to experience pain. The solution here, improve your movement quality so when you load up the weights you’ll do it pain free during AND after the workout. A lot of people will ignore the pain WHILE they are doing the workout, but then it pays them back tenfold once the workout is over and the next day comes.

Ultimately, you may have had someone tell you all of this. I know I’ve told people to use these strategies and time gets the best of them, or they forget to do them, or they just plain don’t do them. Here’s a little cheat sheet for you to follow:

  1. Figure Out Your Movement Deficiencies.
  2. Find Out What and When It Hurts.
  3. Massage, Foam Roll and Stretch Appropriate Movement Patterns And Sections.
  4. Increase Quality of Movement WITHOUT Weight, To Decrease Pain FROM Added Weight.

This can help you immensely if you use it. It won’t help you at all if you don’t.