First you have to know that the human brain communicates the feeling of pain in order to protect your body from real potential injury. It does this before you actually reach your real capacity of muscular or physical endurance. When you recognize that this is only a “signal”, you can then push beyond that pre-emptive warning sign to get to a real pain point. That ability and desire to go beyond the first step is what will make you stronger.
The other type of physical pain is real pain, like when you get hit. There’s no denying that usually hurts. The way your body deals with this type of pain, goes back once again to your fight or flight response. The release of cortisol and the rush of adrenaline that you feel when you’re fearful or nervous actually increases your pain tolerance. How many times have you gone into a fight with pain or a previous injury and then the adrenaline gets going, you get into the fight, focus on your opponent, what you’re doing and the pain disappears? At the very least it’s decreased greatly because you’re focused on the guy in front of you, who is the real danger. Your natural body chemistry kicks-in to take care of the pain and masks the feelings that it brings. Some studies by Keele University have shown that a rush of adrenaline can increase pain tolerance by up to 65%.
That’s the second way your body is programmed to deal with pain.
The third and final component of processing pain, is to know how to recognize and treat bad pain. This pain could occur during the course of training or during a bout. If you experience sudden pain in your joints or muscle soreness you may be performing a technique wrong or taxing your body incorrectly. If the pain persists or continues to the point where it inhibits your movement, it’s best not to ignore it or simply tell yourself to “suck it up.” Even though that’s a fighter’s mentality, you are still an athlete and have to know your body’s limits. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and all of the traditional approaches to treating an injury still work. Know when to apply which method and don’t ignore your body’s warning signs. Consult your coach or better yet a sports physician if you feel like your condition warrants it.
Yes…”Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body.”
Yes…”No Pain. No Gain.”
But above all, remember that pain is your body’s internal barometer. It lets you know when to turn the temperature down, when to dial-it-up a notch and when to hunker-down and protect yourself from the elements.
Professional athletes (not excluding amateurs, but professional being anyone who takes their sport seriously and treats it with respect) know how to read their bodies. Although many fighters pride themselves on being able to fight through the pain, in this case, it’s more important not to put your heart before your head.