Letshego Zulu
3 minute read
5 Oct 2020
10:56 am

Learn to listen to your body :pain-rating scale: get a heads-up if something is amiss

Letshego Zulu

When you feel out of the ordinary, take a moment to tune into yourself.

Image : Istock

Our bodies are constantly communicating with us on a daily basis. I know that may sound odd for some, but our bodies are constantly working and sending us signals, good and bad, and many of us often miss these signals because of our busy lifestyles.

How often have you heard that a supposedly healthy and active person dropped down and had a heart attack? Perhaps someone you know just found out they have cancer and it is already in stage 4? On the other hand, a supposed fit and healthy individual may need a sudden kidney transplant or a cardiopulmonary bypass due to a blocked artery in their heart. These are stories that I often read about and one or two I have heard in my own circles.

One thing is for sure, nothing really happens as instantly as the click of a finger when it comes to body related illnesses. The body actually speaks to us and informs us when it is in not functioning as it should. The signals may be so faint that one misses them but they definitely are there. Very often we ignore signs and signals because we rate them as “minor” problems and do nothing or resort to self-medication. This is not always the best solution, so we need to learn to tune into ourselves better and know when it is time to seek a medical professional’s help.

You obviously don’t want to become a hypochondriac, but in the times that we are living, it is best not to take chances when it comes to your health. When it comes to aches and pains that are out of the ordinary, learn to use an assessment tool such as The Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale. Although the faces pain scale is often used in health facilities for kids or adults that have impaired brain function, you can use it in your personal capacity to help you identify the intensity of your pain and whether you should seek medical assistance or not. It rates pain on a scale from zero to 10.

Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale I use it when it comes to my sport related strains, sprains and actual injuries:

Baker faces

For example, every couple of months after intense training I have one or two vertebrae which shift out of alignment. When this happens, it results in discomfort for the first few days. On the pain scale I often rate that as zero to one and don’t consult my chiropractor and manage it on my own with corrective movements provided by a specialist. As the days progress and my training intensifies, the discomfort sometimes progresses to pain and I would rate it between two and four on the scale. When the pain reaches five, that is when I set up an appointment with my chiropractor to correct my alignment.

This scale can be used for general injuries (knee, ankle, back, shoulder, chest, head, neck, etc.). Some people wait until level nine or 10 on the pain scale and often that is too late, damage has been done and in some cases a progression to intense treatment such as surgery may be needed. So in essense, we need to learn to listen closely to our bodies as they communicate to us on a daily basis. You must remember that your body works 24 hours every day, even when you are sleeping. So when you wake up every morning, assess how you feel and check if there are any signals of pain or discomfort. When you feel out of the ordinary as you go about your day, take a moment to tune into yourself and decipher what signal your body is sending to you so you can take appropriate action.

Letshego Zulu FITNESS @ LARGE FITNESS Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @ letshego.zulu; Twitter: @letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.