Pain vs Injury

As if I haven't enough baseball this weekend, I half-heartedly watched last night's Sunday Night Baseball game. I wasn't paying close attention to the broadcast, until I heard Joe Morgan say, "Play with pain, but not if you're injured." I stopped what I was doing to think about those words - and I've been thinking about them ever since. Why? Because how many times have I asked myself, "Is this just normal soreness, so something I need to be concerned about?" I tend to be cautious about my aches and pains. Just ask my doctor, I have her on speed dial. But I often wonder if I obsess to much about them too much.

I know that it is normal to have post-workout soreness, but sometimes its really tough for me to discern what's "normal" versus what's "not right." When do you push through the pain? At what point does it become an injury?

Case is point - Saturday morning. It was the end of a full week of training.

2010-05-31_Trg_Summary
2010-05-31_Trg_Summary

I woke up with a really tight right hamstring. The first thing I thought of was, "This is how (Jeremy) Affeldt must feel."

This isn't the one I had trouble with before...its the *good* one. I was scheduled to run 7 miles that day. I contemplated not doing it, but then I wondered, "Is this one of those things that you just work through?" Because I have had hammy issues before, I determined that it was just tight, not strained or injured. So I spent a good 30-40 minutes foam-rolling and stretching before heading out for the run.

I didn't feel any tightness during the run, but I did when it was over. I stretched longer than normal, then spent a good 45 minutes in the whirlpool trying to loosen it up. I rehabbed it again on Sunday. By Sunday evening it felt much better, but this morning, while boxing, I felt some tightness so I kept the workout at low-impact.

Since I'm familiar with this area of the body I know that its just pain, not an injury (yet), but I know that I need to take extra special care of it so that it doesn't progress into anything more. But what about the other areas of the body that I'm not so familiar with?

The Giants had a number of injuries this weekend. Being professional athletes that they are, you know they want to play through anything. Take Jeremy Affeldt for example. He's been dealing with a hamstring injury (hence the earlier comment), but he didn't go on the DL. He tried to pitch on Saturday and wasn't very successful. After the game I read that he admitted the hammy is still bothering him. The heart was there, the body did not hold up. Sound familiar? I know for a fact that this is a common dilemma that many active people deal with. We're not professional athletes, and despite how often I call my doctor, we don't have our own medical staff to treat each and every ailment that we feel.

So I ask, How do you determine when to push through pain versus stopping? How do you know when its just pain vs an injury? Joe Morgan didn't elaborate on his statement...your thoughts please!