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Feeling the BURN in Burnout? This is what your pain tells you.


Feeling the BURN in Burnout? This is what your pain tells you.

Marina Terteryan

Ever had this moment?

You're working on the next world-changing project, focusing intently on your computer. Five hours have gone by and you haven't so much as stood up to go to the bathroom. You type away as the sun goes down in the window behind you and the moon comes up in a fast-motion acceleration that you didn't notice.

Just around the 10 pm mark, you reach a satisfactory stopping point. You finish typing and sit back proudly, arms crossed, beaming at your screen, in awe of the beautiful work you have created.

But when the euphoria of creation wears off and you try to stand up, something feels weird. Your back won't seem to straighten and your hands are shaped like The Claw.

Suddenly, you realize you're in crazy pain.

And it's not the good pain like when you do your first 10 push-ups in a row and feel the burn of glory for days afterward.

It's more like the unwelcome soreness like after lifting too many heavy boxes that one time you helped your cute neighbor move in.

Pain tends to feel like it's temporary, with common relief like ice packs, Tylenol, and rest. But it’s actually a sign of something much worse and long-lasting.

"Pain is actually the LAST symptom of a musculoskeletal problem," says Dr. Brian Pazera, my favorite LA chiropractor. "When something hurts, that means the damage is accelerating quickly and should be addressed immediately."

Pain is not the beginning of a grace period for when you can start taking care of yourself, like when your gas empty light goes on in the car, but you know you can technically drive another 50 miles before the car putters and stops. Pain is the alarming flashing red light that indicates you need to wear a helmet and run out of the building before it collapses. So the next time your back, neck, wrists, elbows, knees hurt so badly you can't stand up straight? Stop working for the day. Rest by staying off your phone, computer, and tablet for the night. Then see a chiropractor first thing in the morning.

And yes, this is going to be another obnoxious request to pause and stretch in the middle of being on a "roll." Like right now. Right now is a good time to pause and stretch.