Myth busting: No pain, no gain


Nurse Director
Jun 8, 2007
The North
United Kingdom United Kingdom
With rather blatant snitching from a couple of other sites, I give you the lie to this saying!

No pain, no gain (or "No gain without pain") is an exercise motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this concept, competitive professionals such as athletes and artists are required to endure pain and pressure to achieve professional excellence. [Jo note: so not post-surgery!]

It came into prominence after 1982 when actress Jane Fonda began to produce a series of aerobics workout videos. In these videos, Fonda would use "No pain, no gain" and "Feel the burn" as catchphrases for the concept of working out past the point of experiencing muscle aches. [Jo note: so actually not pain!]

Today Health
We've all heard the expression “No pain, no gain,” but did you know that's actually not true? Author and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak dispels this and six other common fitness myths:

Myth: No pain, no gain
Fact: Many people think if their muscles don’t hurt, they’re not having a quality workout. This is way off base. While resistance training can be intense, and some level of discomfort may occur, pain is not required for a successful workout. It’s also important to note that pain can be a warning sign of an exhausted muscle or torn ligament.​
Myth: Stretching before a workout will reduce the risk of injury.
Fact: The British Medical Journal published an article in 2002 in which researchers determined that available evidence does not support the role of stretching in preventing muscle soreness after exercise or in reducing risk of injury. It's a controversial finding, but a theory Pasternak subscribes to; he rarely, if ever, stretches with his clients.​

So forget this saying when rehabbing your new knee replacement. Your leg is not out of condition, it's injured and needs time to rest and recuperate. The very best form of recovery takes place like so

Weeks 1-3: rest, elevate, ice and take your pain meds on time, do ankle pumps, foot rotations, calf and thigh muscle clenching to ward off risk of blood clots, using your walker or crutches, walk to the kitchen to get yourself ice or a snack and to the bathroom. A little walk like this every couple of hours is fine and some gentle, painless heel slides 3-4 times a day.

Weeks 3-4: now start doing some more but nothing too gruelling, around the house, out into the garden for 5-10 mins only, take it easy.

Weeks 4-6: longer walks, use an exercise bike if you have one or can borrow one, rock back and forth on the pedals at first, do first full rotations going backwards and when you feel ready, try a full forward rotation and celebrate!

And so on ... but please, never cause yourself pain, never let your PT cause you pain. Pain is not only unnecessary it is actually non-productive as it will simply cause lots of swelling and we all know that a swollen leg cannot bend! Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?

Another related article:
Life in the Slow Lane

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