“If your body is whispering, don’t make it scream.” That’s what my yoga anatomy teacher used to say. But I am sure you have also heard “No pain, no gain!”
Both of these statements are correct, you just need to find the right balance between both of them…and pay attention to the signals that your body is sending. Our body is an amazing and a very smart system. When talking about muscle pain, we also have to take into consideration that each person has a different tolerance to it.
While practicing any kind of physical exercise (yoga, dance, fitness, golf, running…) it is extremely important to listen to any kind of message your body sends you and to know when you have reached your physical limit.
During my career as a dancer and acrobat, I was the kind of artist who preferred to avoid pain, and it worked quite well as I didn’t experience any big injuries during all these years.
Obviously, when you train as a professional in any kind of physical activity, pain is inevitable. But you can prevent it by following the techniques below:
1. Warming up properly
This is a must! Never skip a warm-up, as this is incredibly important! When you exercise with warm muscles there is less chance of hurting or pulling.
2. Using reflexology
In our hands and feet we have areas that represent each body part. By pressing and massaging them we release tension in our entire body. It is a powerful way of healing.
3. Taking a warm bath
After an intensive training session, taking a warm bath with Epsom salt will help to detox and relax the muscles. Magnesium deficiency causes muscles to contract, which is a major pain trigger.
4. Rolling muscles on balls or foam rolls
I never travel without my foot and back balls. It’s like travelling with your own massage therapist.
5. Booking a massage
Sometimes balls are just not enough and you need real hands! I would recommend booking a massage once per week.
My favorite: Thai deep tissue! “Massage therapy has been shown to boost levels of endorphins and serotonin—the body’s natural painkillers and mood regulators—and to reduce stress hormone levels,” says Dr. Weil.
The ancient practice of acupuncture, where tiny needles are inserted into specific points in the body, is part of a complete medical procedure that is focused on correcting energy imbalances throughout the nervous system. Many people claim it doesn’t work, however it does for me. Stimulating the nervous system to release tension is the best!
All the above techniques are natural ways of dealing with pain. I do not support painkillers in pills or creams like paracetamol, ibuprofen or ketoprofen. Yes they do relieve the pain for 3-4 hours, but they do not fix the problem; they only pause it. You are actually hurting the muscle more by working on it with painkillers, as you are not able to accurately feel your limits.