I came across an interesting fitness blog post recently. It is a great point of thought, I make it a point, regardless of the program design for my client to ask how do they feel. Asking and listening to a client is very important and should determine how you proceed before training. How do you all address this subject with clients.
The power of referral is probably one of the greatest powers that a personal trainer has. Referring a client with legitimate pain concerns to a qualified healthcare professional should only help to build a stronger client/trainer relationship. If a client is in pain, the prudent way to proceed, in my opinion, is to refer that client to someone who may be able to address the situation. At a minimum, a trainer who has a client claiming that he or she is experiencing “pain” should always attempt to get an understanding of the pain that is being felt so that you, the trainer, can write an appropriate referral letter to a qualified professional.
Obviously, our clients may have aches and pains from time to time as a result of intense training or DOMS. As has been addressed here, there are different levels of pain. I don’t see pain as something that can be described as soreness or slight discomfort. Physical recovery from exercise can often times be uncomfortable.
When “pain” shows up in areas that have been recently trained, the safest thing to do for your client is to assume that there has been some sort of injury that needs to be addressed. Depending on your scope of practice as a fitness professional, you may or may not be able to determine the best course of action. However, a fitness professional can never go wrong by referring a client. If a client refuses to see a qualified professional about the pain, another option might be to avoid training that would exacerbate the issue, if at all possible, until the pain subsides and the client feels OK to resume training.
Having said that, if the same kind of pain is reoccurring, a trip to the doctor is no longer a question, but a requirement.