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Good pain vs bad pain - Managing climbing injuries



Injury is part of the game in climbing, but not all injuries are created equal.


Pushing limits can take a toll on the body, but is there a difference between good pain and bad pain, and when should we see a trained professional?


First, let’s set the scene.


You’re facing up at the crux of your long term project (again!) and take a deep breath. You’re fully committed, but just when you’re mid crux your feet cut off, your pinky slips and you hear a dreaded ‘pop’ in your hand.


You, my friend, have most likely got an acute injury. Your best bet is to stop climbing, lower to the ground and sort that out with a trained professional. Book in for a physio appointment with one of our experienced Move Clinic practitioners ASAP. You’ll thank me later.

On the other hand, if you’ve woken up sore from a hard day of climbing but bounce back in time for your next session without any pain, you’re probably in the clear. Rest is the key here; it will help your body to recover from a hard session, but it won’t affect an injury.


One thing we want to focus on with acute injury is not to make it worse, but if it’s better in a few days you probably just cooked yourself and there’s no need to worry.

But what about those recurrent low grade niggles that pop up every few months when you push it just a little too hard? Or those weaknesses your friends are forever reminding you about that just don’t seem to improve? This is where a trained physiotherapist can help.


Low grade niggles are many and varied. It could be a shoulder you’re less confident to jump to, a sore neck that pops up every time you start to do strength training, or that familiar elbow pain that appears every time you use your ‘try hard’ face.


Niggles are often complex and related to weaknesses, imbalances and habits that can be addressed with appropriate treatment plans.

The solution lies in identifying what the problem is, why it is happening, and then implementing a combination of tools to make your body stronger and spread the load.


The good news is that a physiotherapist can help you turn your weaknesses into assets (and help you show your friends how it’s done).


Addressing these niggles is a quick way to make gains so you can climb stronger, smarter, and crush your projects. Don’t let the niggles dictate your success - get a professional to guide you towards recovery.

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