Pain is not normal. It is not weakness leaving the body. It is not something you need to make peace with. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. It is a red flag warning to be listened to.

I’ve had conversations with people who were once in pain. They had, like many others, accepted pain as a part of their lives – it was just something they had to deal with. Except it’s not.

You check your car’s oil regularly, ensure that your tires are all optimally inflated, and take your car in for regular oil changes. You don’t, I hope, wait for the engine to completely stop working or make terrible grinding noises before you decide, “hey, maybe I should check the fluid levels.” We take better care of our cars than we do our bodies!

While your car may have regularly scheduled maintenance, when was the last time you scheduled regular maintenance for yourself? Do you make as much time for downtime as you do for the gym?

We spend so much time running around that our body’s only chance at getting us to slow down is to raise up the red pain flag. It’s a last ditch effort in an attempt to protect you from permanent damage, but for many of us, stopping to get to the root of the pain doesn’t happen. So, we continue to operate with pain until we can’t – and then it’s too late.

It’s not like you woke up one day needing a joint replacement. The degradation of the joint was not a miracle that happened overnight – it was a process that probably took your entire life. But here’s what they are not telling you – joint degradation to the point of complete failure at age 50 is not a natural aging process.

So what can we do about pain and prevent surgery as the only option? First of all, do not let pain be the first indicator that something is going on. Incorporate mobility into your DAILY routine to deal with the stiffness, overuse, and underuse of your tissues. We can’t expect to spend 9+hrs a day in the same position and then be surprised when it affects our overall alignment. Mobility and self-care are about undoing what cars, seats, standing, shoes, and hard surfaces do to our tissues and cells on a daily basis. Taking the time to roll on your preferred myofascial tools (although you know I love my Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls) means that you are taking to the time to notice if something is off in your body. If you continue to roll an area that feels stiff or constantly sore (aka pain) then it’s time to call in the big guns. The best part is, that when you do go see the big guns (PT, physio, doctor etc), you already have an understanding of the lay of your land. We can no longer expect a health professional who we only see for 1 hr a year (or even less) to know more about your body than you do, which is a post for another day.

So get to it! Get to know your body! Spend time each and every day undoing what you did the previous 14 hours. If you have to wear heels because of your job, then make sure you spend time stretching and mobilizing calves, hamstrings, and feet. If you are sitting all day, please, for the love of all things holy, take your hips into extension (a la couch series) and reset the resting length of your psoas and quads. Reclaim your life and grab pain by the balls!