About a month ago, while working out with weights, I started to perform cross-body hammer curls when I felt a couple of pops in my upper right arm. I finished the workout and felt fine, until the next day when a persistent pain sat in my arm, down a particular path to my elbow.
Tendon strain, for sure.
The first day, pain was bearable and it prompted me to find relief. I used a cold-pack, then wrapped my arm in an ace bandage for compression.
I didn’t take anything for the pain, which turned to discomfort after about a week. Then, the only time I felt it was first thing in the morning, so I used a heating pad to relax my arm out of its fixed position all night and went through the rest of the day relatively pain/discomfort free.
Then I thought it would be a good idea to paint the walls of a tall room. Guess what? The tendon flared again and I went back to ice, bandage, heat until I felt relief again.
If I had taken any sort of pain killer (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.) I might not have noticed the changes in how my tendon was fairing. I’ve had to pay attention to it, follow its lead, and use various methods to promote healing (which takes time) and ease the pain.
Of course, I’m not talking about chronic pain, I’m talking about pain that annoys us, gets in the way. But had ad I shut off this primal signal that “something isn’t right”, I might have done much more damage to the tendon, perhaps the muscle, and ultimately my shoulder.
Pain is our friend. It has a message. Listen.