The purpose of pain is to push us into a greater, more expansive possibility for our lives.

Thought leader Dr. Michael Beckwith famously said ‘pain pushes us until our vision pulls’… In other words, we go through pain every day in our lives but the pain we often experience in life is actually serving a purpose. The purpose of pain is to push us into a greater, more expansive possibility for our lives. Pain can be difficult to deal with on many levels, but particularly if we experience it in multiple areas of our lives at once. Pain pushes us to either move forward or take a step back. This applies not only to work or relationships, but to our fitness pursuits as well.

There are thousands of people that struggle with physical and emotional pain everyday. In my line of work as a fitness expert and trainer, I hear it all the time. Sometimes when we’re in pain there’s a temptation to skip exercising. But exercise is often the best way to help lessen the pain and improve our quality of life. This doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. It just means that it’s necessary.

Bed rest with limited activity is a prescription of the past. Current research suggests that remaining active–within safe parameters– delivers the best outcome. When you minimize exercise during an episode of pain, your body quickly becomes deconditioned. Over time, small tasks like shampooing your hair or grocery shopping become daily obstacles. Fatigue and stiffness are associated with everything we do, even the simplest of tasks. The painful area is almost like a contagion that spreads over our entire being.

Modify Wherever Possible

Most people find their pain decreases with movement and exercise when they find the right thing for them, at the right ‘dose’, and once they manage to get a few weeks of it under their belt. The key is understanding your body and how to make the appropriate modifications so as not to injure yourself any further. It’s important to understand that hurt doesn’t necessarily mean harm. Endurance runners often say that their ability to push through excruciating bouts of discomfort is integral to their race performance. They learn to adjust their pain level by using various mental techniques.

If you have chronic physical pain like arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative hip disease or bulging discs, consider seeking professional guidance, whether it’s a physiotherapist, trainer or your family doctor. Finding the right set of exercises can be the best way to push past a mild to moderate injury or condition. But the key is to never give up.