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.
I think that it’s vitally important to know the source of the pain and it’s cause. I agree with other posters that how I proceed with a client experiencing pain depends on it’s cause and severity. The whole “no pain, no gain” mentality of the past simply is not a smart way to approach training. I make that clear to my clients when we first start working together. I try to explain to my new clients that there will be times in our training together that they will become uncomfortable and feel challenged (i.e. the “overload principle”) and that what we seek is to get them to become “comfortable with discomfort,” NOT comfortable with PAIN.
I totally agree with Karin’s statement that many people (including our clients, and even ourselves) do or will experience “pain” at some point in our lives. If the client has been medically cleared to workout despite the source of this pain, then it’s part of my job to get them to improve their quality of life while living/dealing with the pain. This means that if they have chronic pain such as that related to arthritis, strengthening their muscles and joints to improve that condition, or if their source is an episodic or acute source (such as post-rehabilitation from surgery) to work through the slight discomfort/pain that is a necessary part of returning to full or close to full functioning.
“Yes,” dealing with pain can be a slippery slope since each individual experiences pain and expresses it in different ways. This is why in my opinion it is vitally important to acknowledge your client’s feeling, communicate effectively with them, and make sure that they obtain a medical evaluation to determine that their exercising is not exacerbating or causing the pain.
I hope that this helps.
I always ask my clients how they’re feeling prior to working out. If they are sick or experiencing pain that sounds acute I will back off. I don’t believe in working “through pain”, me belief is that pain is a signal to be listened to not ignored.
There are many types of pain: If a client is sore from a workout, we will roll and stretch and work different muscle groups. If my client has a migraine we may turn the lights down and stretch.
With that being said, I’m not sure if this answers your inquiry?
You have to remember that some people, because of what is ailing them, will always have pain. Say for example someone with Fibromyalgia; such a person will always be in pain. As Joanne said, use the pain scale (0-10). If the pain is 5 or over, don’t train that person. As suggested by our fellow professionals, if it is within your scope of practice, you should try to help that person.
It can often be difficult as trainers to know whether our clients are experiencing “pain” or muscle soreness. Often clients who are new to exercise or new to pushing themselves to new levels of fitness, do not know what they are supposed to be feeling. Like others, I often coach my clients of what they should be feeling and what they should not be feeling. Then we talk about the difference between fatique and pain. I go by the rule that if a certain area is experiencing true pain and its a new pain that they haven’t experienced before or sought medical treatment for in the past or is a pain that has reimmerged in an area where they’ve had a previous injury and that pain continues for more than a week after it has been rested, then they need to be referred. Once a client is experiencing pain, we rest that area, no longer work it, although I will work other areas of the body that do not affect that particular site of injury.
I think its important, as others have stated, to talk about the difference between fatigue and pain with clients. Its also important to perform a proper medical history prior to training so you can be aware of any previous injuries or medical conditions that may make them prone to pain or reinjury. Always err on the side of caution and client safety.