The Pain/Push Conundrum

In the last post I mentioned that I’m going through physical therapy. My left shoulder and knee have been out of commission for the past year or so, and my physical fitness has been…lacking, to say the least. In fact, it’s been so lacking that I managed to put enough weight to stick me ever so slightly in the “obese” category according to my BMI. I might only be “slightly” obese, but it’s still obese.

So before I even started physical therapy, I had gone to a doctor who told me that I had bruised the back side of my kneecap (only I could manage to do that!) and I had separated my shoulder. Well, no wonder I haven’t been able to lift weights, or do pushups, or do a whole lot of anything. I was told to complete 3 sessions of physical therapy per week  for 5 weeks. Then, after that, it would be up to me to continue a steady fitness regimen. “If you don’t work out at least 3 times a week,” my doctor said, “you’ll put yourself at risk for early onset arthritis in your shoulder and knee, and you’ll have problems with your weight and blood pressure. Did I mention that your blood pressure was high today?”

Thankfully, I’ve been able to ease into it. I have set workouts from the physical therapist, and I’m able to do a lot more in terms of running and lifting weights. This weekend, however, I ran into what I call the pain/push conundrum. Spencer and I were getting ready for our first hurricane (which seems to be just a lot of rain at the moment), so I was busy making evacuation plans, stockpiling food, and getting the house ready. I forgot to do my workouts on Saturday, my leg “hurt too bad” from the previous day’s work, and by the time Spencer decided to go to the gym on Monday, my knee was making a weird clicking noise. And, again, it just “really, really hurt.”

I knew what the pain was from too. It was because the inside quad muscle had gotten weak, and it let my kneecap shift over into pain-land. That’s right, pain-land. My kneecap was now rubbing on the bone behind it, and the area around it was swollen. The only way to make that pain go away is to go work out…which you don’t feel like doing when your leg is in constant pain.

I had a decision to make. From someone who has gone from not working out for a year to needing to work out in order to chase away leg pains, it was a tough decision. Walking into that gym I thought I was going to do more harm than good. I sat down on a mat, and started some slow stretching. I did my leg raises, my quad sets, and some calf stretches. That first half hour hurt, but it hurt so good. I needed to push myself though that pain in order to make my leg stronger; the pain was necessary in order to make myself better.

I’m sure by now you can draw your own conclusions between pushing through the pain in gym and pushing though the pain in life. I won’t preach here, but I will say that as long as you can recognize and remember that the pain goes away on the other side, it makes it easier to push. Again, gym lessons that can apply to life 😉


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