The Pain Factor

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Last year I told an acquaintance that at the age of 46, I had taken up running. The reply was, "Oh, that's awfully hard on your knees." At first I was taken aback. Yes, I knew if I didn't stretch, warm-up or wear properly fitted shoes, I might experience painor an injury. But the person telling me this was overweight, had borderline high blood pressure, and never worked out. I wondered if this friend realized by living a sedentary lifestyle, the odds of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers had substantially increased. Not to mention that being overweight actually placed this person at a higher risk than me for developing knee pain from osteoarthritis and heel pain as a result of plantar fasciitis.

I'm no spring chicken and sometimes my running resembles a dawdling old hen. But I do know it's necessary to take precautions at any age to guard against injury when participating in physical activity such as running. Because the truth is, sometimes pain happens. When it does, you can either use pain as an excuse or you can use it as a diagnostic tool to help improve and go forward with your performance.

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There are three classifications of pain. In simple terms, these can be described as the following:

Nociceptive Pain: felt after an injury to body tissues such as cuts, sprains, broken bones, bruising, surgery, and sometimes cancer. Most pain is of this type.

Neuropathic Pain: resulting from an injury to nerves, the spinal cord or the brain, examples being Phantom Limb Pain and shingles

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