In Pain? Don’t Be Afraid to Skip The Gym

“No gym for the next week.”

Um.. Excuse me? What did you say?

As dramatic as it may sound, I felt like I had gotten punched in the stomach when my physical therapist told me this today. How in the world am I going to miss the gym for an entire week? Although I was saddened by the news, I knew that the advice was for a reason.

Back in 2013, I started experiencing some upper back, shoulder, and arm pain that has only worsened throughout the years. The pain is ONLY on my left side. It starts from my shoulder and upper back and radiates down my arm. The pain is usually always there and I feel weakness down my arm every single day. It’s been nearly 4 years and I’ve learned to work through the pain. I’ve also been experiencing sciatica down my left leg for the past few months. I find myself in pain doing certain workouts and when I sit for an extended length of time. Similar to my back, shoulder, and arm pain, I have worked through the pain and tend to suck it up. But here’s the thing – I cannot keep doing that anymore.

I’m a 23-year-old, young woman. At this age, I shouldn’t be experiencing so much pain. The worse part about it is that I tend to try to ignore the pain during my workouts and push through it. Don’t do this. It makes it worse, trust me. So I decided that enough was enough and I needed to seek medical attention.

X-rays and MRI’s showed that I have a bulging disc in my neck, which is most likely causing the pain that radiates down my left shoulder and arm. The results also showed that I have inflammation in my lower back, most likely causing the pain in down my left leg. Needless to say, the left side of my body got unlucky.  The orthopedic I went to recommended that I go to physical therapy in order to help with my pain.

So, let’s fast-forward to my first physical therapy appointment today.

After evaluating where I was at, showing me stretches, and answering any questions I had, he told me to schedule an appointment next week. He then proceeded to tell me the first sentence of this blog. Let me tell you, I felt a little heart-broken. I love the gym and thinking about going a week without it is…. weird. BUT, I know it’s what’s best for me.


Coming from someone who normally goes to the gym 5-6 times a week, I am here to tell you this: If you are experiencing pain, don’t ignore it. Go to the doctor, get some exams done, and rest up. Your body is the ONLY body you will have during this lifetime and it is up to YOU to take care of it. Pushing yourself to your limits is necessary for progress – but not all the time. If the pain is TRUE pain, listen to your body. There are many situations in which we should listen to our bodies and not exercise. It will not be the end of the word to skip out on a few sessions. If our priority is to be healthy, we need to learn to be OK with giving our bodies some rest. Your body will thank you!

Please leave a comment below if you have experienced pain and how you handled it. Do you have a tough time skipping the gym even if you feel pain?

Main Photo: Therapeutic Associates

Listen to Your Body Photo: Red Bubble

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