Is there such a thing as good pain and bad pain?


Yes, but what is important is knowing the difference between muscular ache/pain from normal training loads and demands, and muscular ache/pain from overtraining/injury.

Muscular pain/ DOMS

Tough training session the day before and struggling to lift your arms to wash your hair or put your jacket on? Yeah we’ve all been there. Generally, muscular pain post exercise can range anywhere on the

pain scale from 0 – 5

and can be incredibly inconvenient but after a few days you will find that this eases off. This ‘pain’ that you are experiencing here is called delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS) and isn’t something to be majorly worried. DOMS can last anywhere up to 3 days, if it is lasting longer, it may be worth considering that it is not DOMS and to see advice from a medical professional.

To define pain, Physiotherapist’s use the VAS scale (visual analogue scale) which ranges from 0 -10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the absolute worst pain in the world (note – if you’re able to sit in front of me and tell me you’re in 10/10 pain, you are not in 10/10 pain).

  • 1

    Warm up and cool down efficiently

  • 2

    Stretch it out

  • 3

    Hydrate yourself – did you know being dehydrated as little as 5% can impair performance by up to 30%

  • 4

    Ice baths (if you are brave enough!)

  • 5

    Self massage/foam rolling.

  • 6

    Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition!

  • Eating blueberries, cherries and other dark fruits help to eliminate water produced during training. Consuming an hour after your protein shake is recommended to see more benefits.

  • Consume almonds and nuts to accelerate repair of muscles

  • Cook with turmeric and ginger to accelerate recovery due to their anti-inflammatory properties

  • Add cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity for faster tissue repair and glycogen replenishment. Add to protein shakes, tea, coffee, yoghurt or place on your veggies.

If you have followed these steps, but found that your pain is persisting for more than 4-5 days or is greater than 5 on the VAS scale it may be you’ve sustained an injury or are overtraining and this is something that needs to be looked into by a trained professional further.


Overtraining pain

Overtraining is misunderstood. In gymnastics, overuse injuries accounted for 44% of injuries.

It’s so common because we love what we do and as a community you can often hear the phrases ‘circus hurts’ and ‘no pain, no gain’ shouted out across the studio.

So, how do we identify overtraining, what are the signs?

Now, this blog post isn’t intended to scare you, it’s intended to make you think.

Think about how your training is going, what are your energy levels doing? Do you need a rest? A change in diet? Modify your lifestyle? Increase your rest days?

It’s YOUR body, listen to it, the signs are there you just need to stop, take a step back and listen.

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Injury epidemiology and risk factors in competitive artistic gymnasts: A systematic review. Campbell et al. January 2

Breaking muscle. Overtraining can kill you by Andrew Read. Image by Unsplash/”>

Burnout image –

Blueberries Image –

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