As Gray Cook says, pain indicates a health problem not a fitness problem. In rehab, we deal with pain and dysfunction. In exercise and training, we deal with dysfunction. Pain and health problems should be managed by a licensed professional with appropriate training.
Exercising in pain is not the solution and you should seek proper guidance on how to get out of pain and correct dysfunctions before resuming your regular exercise or training program. Otherwise you may just get stuck in the perpetual pain cycle. The plan is to reduce pain, improve the tolerance to exercise through graded exposure, dose exercise and train to correct dysfunctions.
The management of pain should not be left to unqualified individuals in the exercise/fitness industry. With the rise of continuing education programs and certifications intended to help fitness professionals identify, through screening, an individual's level of training readiness.
Movement screens are generally performed to assess for mechanical sensitivity (aka pain with movement) and/or abnormal motor control (aka movement dysfunction). The screens are usually graded on a scale to reflect a score indicative of that individual's current performance.
A sample scoring system would look something like this:
0 = pain
1 = can't perform movement or has loss of greater than 50% range of motion
2 = performs movement with compensation
3 = performs movement without compensation
Screening provides valuable information and obviously it is ideal to work one towards a higher movement score.
The issue I have taken up with screening is the tendency for some fitness professionals to act as a pseudo-therapist when a client is experiencing pain. In my opinion, unless you have a professional license to work with the human body (i.e. chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, medical doctor, etc.) you have no business providing 'rehab' or 'advice' to a client. The best advice you can provide is to have them seek a professional medical opinion from a trusted source.
Again pain is a health problem, not a fitness problem. Most people within the fitness industry simply have a personal training certification. Managing a client's pain is not within your scope. Pain is a referral to a medical professional. Once pain is managed properly, then exercise is reintroduced.
Give our office a call and let us help you get out of pain by providing you the tools to understand your pain, how to prevent it, and how to improve the way your body functions. The model at Gallagher Performance was developed to bring excellence in both pain management and exercise/fitness education.