Groin Pain, or On Athletes, Pain, and Discipline
Non-athletes need discipline to keep working out; athletes need discipline to stop.
Groin pain happens. It happened to one combat-sport athlete—a Kyokushin fighter and instructor—who then asked me for advice on dealing with it.
Athletes, and especially combat-sport athletes, have high pain thresholds and high internal motivation. Those two traits combined make athletes vulnerable to self-inflicted chronic injuries—near certain if the athletes and those directing their training proceed oblivious to the signs of trauma.
Anyway, here is the athlete’s question on dealing with his groin pain and then my advice, which applies to any pain:
Since a few months I am afflicted with pubalgia, a pain inside my groin tendons, a sort of inflammation of the inner right adductor and the inner low corner of my right abdominal muscles. I think it is beginning to heal during these last days. In those months when I felt the pain, I did fewer and fewer side splits, while continuing to do front splits and some easy early morning stretching. But I want to resume my usual workout routine with no pain anymore.
I would like you to advise me what to avoid and what to do to solve my problem. Probably I could find the answer reading articles on your website but I need prompt advice from the source. I didn’t go to a physician because generally they say to cease any exercise, do an X-ray, then therapy, but I cannot stop training.
It was an error to continue doing any splits and dynamic stretches (early morning stretching) when feeling pain in your groin. You could have gotten a hernia and adductor strain. Doing splits and dynamic stretches kept irritating the inflamed tissues of your lower abdomen and inner thigh and made them weaker. You can hope it has not made them weaker permanently, but only postponed your healing. Here is my advice:
1. Do not do any exercise that gives you any feeling in the injured side that is different from the uninjured side. When you have been injured, any exercise that is not approved by a physician treating your injury, any exercise that causes you even the lightest pain or an abnormal feeling, sets you back by weeks or months from the full recovery. It may even keep you from ever recovering. If you would like to never regain your full ability, all you have to do is to keep exercising through discomfort. Stopping training and following a proper injury treatment and rehabilitation program takes discipline.
2. Read and apply the advice in the following articles:
3. Find a specialist who can help you quickly and permanently fix your injury. I had good experience with physicians and therapists of the following specialties:
If you insist on doing an exercise through pain, you can easily end up unable to do it ever, forever.
Filed under: Flexibility and Stretching, Sports Injuries | 6 Comments
Tags: athletes, chronic injuries, discipline, dynamic stretches, early morning stretching, fighter, front splits, groin pain, injury treatment, Kyokushin, non-athletes, pubalgia, rehabilitation, side splits