No Pain, No Gain is a Myth
10.19.2022

The Saying “No Pain, No Gain” Is A Myth

According to Jake Beamon, a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) at Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates, don’t believe the saying “no pain, no gain.” He has served patients out of the Concord, NC office  for over four years as a fully licensed PTA. He is an avid CrossFit enthusiast who is certified in Kinesio tape, Graston level one, with experience as well in Tai Chi for rehabilitation. Beamon typically sees patients with a spinal focus such as post ops cervical fusions, post-op lumbar fusions, microdiscectomies and laminectomies. He also has worked with athletes who have low back or neck pain.

Core Strengthening

“The main thing I think is just a lack of understanding of what core strengthening is, how the core is involved in training in general, and in human movement, and within sports in itself,” Beamon said. “A little bit of soreness, muscular discomfort maybe, but there should be no pain with your training.”

Beamon explains that he likes to think of the core as keeping your trunk stable while you can manipulate - specifically in the athletic field, manipulating forces around your trunk. It can provide a stable platform for you to be able to conduct these forces like running, jumping, squatting without having unwanted motions or movements that translate into your spine.

“The way I kind of define a core being strong is, can you perform the functional movements in day-to-day life such as in squatting, hip hinging, jumping and while you're doing these motions, maintain a stable trunk? You're not lopsided when you jump. When you squat, you're not going to one side, your trunk is not leaning.”

How you breathe also affects the stability of your core. Diaphragmatic breathing specifically has been shown in studies to stimulate several muscles in the core. “I do think it's great to learn that method of breathing in general and stop being a chest breather.” 

Muscle Symmetry/Asymmetry

Another reason why athletes tend to injure their back is muscle symmetry or asymmetry. According to Beamon, yoga helps allow your body to have symmetrical mobility and static holds in different positions that helps build core strength.

Other sports that create the most muscle asymmetry include golf, baseball, and basketball. Specifically, pitchers and basketball players who repeatedly dunk on the same side over and over often cause muscle asymmetries. “I've seen that golf is really one of the hardest things on your back,” Beamon said. “You need to have a lot of rotational force, coordination in your body, and thoracic mobility. Golfers are not really warming up.”

Running is another activity where muscle asymmetries present themselves. When you run, once you start to fatigue, the body likes to seek and find the path of least resistance. It's going to go with what's the laziest or easiest way that you can run this mile today. Once that happens, we're immediately going to fall back into where our asymmetries are.

“With any exercise program, we need to take into account that regardless of your age, you still need to hip hinge, you still need to be able to squat to some degree, you still need to be able to walk and run,” Beamon said. “All that being said, we need to take into account that if you're doing an exercise program, you want to make sure you preserve and maintain these important functional body movements.”

Practicing What You Preach

Jake Beamon is a physical therapy assistant at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates and puts into action what he recommends to patients–keep active! He is an avid CrossFit enthusiast. According to Beamon, most causes of back injuries among athletes is due to a lack of understanding the importance of core strengthening. Another cause of back injuries include muscle asymmetry, which is often the result of athletes who play golf, baseball or basketball. Injuries can also occur when there is lack of warm-up or excessive non-essential training. Jake is a believer of adopting functional sports-specific training and working your body out as a whole unit, and not separating certain muscle groups.

Jake also dives into how you can protect your back if you’re into athletics, or even as an ordinary person who’s into fitness programs like CrossFit. Besides strengthening your core and improving mobility, you must maintain functional body movements of hip hinging, squatting, walking, and running regardless of age and fitness level.

Want to learn more? Listen to our featured podcast of BackTalkDoc to hear this topic unpacked! 

Need to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists? Call us or requests an appointment online! 


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