Pain- the new normal?

Discussion in 'USA Veteran Fencing' started by Phrogger, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    I've started fencing again after a few years' hiatus. This time is different. I'm in my late 40's and everything hurts. All the time. I'm not super-fit but it's not like I stopped being active for the past 10 years. I've always gone to the gym or run 3+ days per week. But now I'll wake up one morning with a new hip pain. And then another day it hurts to extend my legs. And yet another day my shoulder hurts. And these pains really don't go away. I wake up in pain at night. Maybe I need a new mattress but it didn't bother me before recently. Is this the new normal? Because it sucks.

    On that same note the club I started attending has a brutal warm-up/training routine. I'm a team player, I can push through the pain but it may be causing some of the problems, especially in my knees and arches because of the squats and jumps. I feel weird asking to get out of it.

    I still lift weights at the gym but I'm not sure how to stop before I over-train. I always seem to lift one pound too many, tweak my shoulder or elbow, and then have to lay off the weights for several weeks before I try again.

    So seriously, I don't need any snarky comments about aging here. I just want to know what sounds about right for my age and what doesn't, and how I can feel better and stop hurting so much for those who have gone through it before.
     
  2. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    We don't heal as quickly as earlier. What we lose in speed we gain in endurance. Spend a session with a highly-qualified personnel trainer who has your decade (and older) clients.
     
  3. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur DE Bracket

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    As we get older, pushing through the pain is not a good idea. Recuperative/recovery times are longer and you need to give your body a better chance to catch up, especially if you haven't been active for a few years. This is especially true of connective tissue in joints. Try lighter weights than you may have ever used before, and increase reps before increasing the weight.
     
  4. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    There's no ideal training intensity for vets, other than we can't do the same kind of training teenagers do.
    You need to know--in general terms--what your own individual strengths and weaknesses are. Balance, flexibility/range of motion, power, quickness, endurance, and fine motor control are some of the categories.

    You may need to alter your training routine from that of other fencers: either to emphasize the areas you need more work on, to protect muscles and joints that are healing or are susceptible to overuse injuries, work around old injuries, or all of the above. A consult with a physical therapist or kinesiologist can be very valuable.

    At vet age, problems with balance and flexibility contribute to injuries. Thankfully, the kinds of exercises that help with balance and flexibility are things you can do even on non-fencing days.
     
  5. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    There might also be some specific stretches that a PT or good chiropractor can teach you to minimize or alleviate the pains that you're getting. I've been seeing similar things the last several years as well. In most cases, my chiropractor can attribute the pain to an over-development of a muscle group and shows me some things to work on. Usually, within a week or so, the pain is gone.
     
  6. fencerdoc

    fencerdoc Rookie

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    Hi and welcome to the Old Guys/Gals Club! You've reached the age where skill and treachery will have to start compensating for speed and enthusiasm.
    Yeah, things are gonna hurt in more places, more often and for longer than before. That would be true even if you never fenced a day in your life.
    Here's a question to consider: you mentioned you fenced previously; this time around have you started a different weapon than before, or significantly altered your fencing style? I found that once I added saber to my usual epee routine late in life the aches and pains multiplied considerably.
    The "brutal" warmup routine should probably be eased into as well, and perhaps even done at a "lighter" level.
    Working with a PT or chiro like the other poster mentioned might also be helpful if you have the time and $.
     
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  7. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    It's pretty difficult to give you advice without a much more detailed and invasive set of questions about your training routine and over all fitness...and it verges on medical advice, which I am NOT qualified to give.

    Broadly, though, fencing uses muscles in a different way than, say, lifting weights. This is going to result in a lot of different aches and pains as you start a new activity. I've recently started running to supplement my fencing training. After 20-30 minutes of running, I am sore and stiff the next day, in contrast to the hour and a half of fencing I do with no issues.

    This: "the club I started attending has a brutal warm-up/training routine" is a cause for concern. If you're doing a lot of plyometic jumps and recoverys there is a significant chance of injury if you don't work up to it. I remember attending a camp (long ago) with an Eastern European coach who took one look around the room, saw a group of mostly out of shape fencers in their 30's and 40's and immediately started a set of brutal conditioning exercises, including one legged squats, burpees, and the like. He killed most of us and a number of peopel didn't come back for the second day, since he had broken them. He was an expert fencer, but had no idea how to translate his past experiance with young athletes into older ones. Or perhaps he just felt that if he broke some people, he would get new ones. I don't know. I don't know anything about your coach, but those attitudes are still out there in some clubs, and it's up to you to monitor yourself, since many coaches (despite the diplomas they may have from a fencing school) are usually not very good physical/conditioning trainers.

    Soreness, aches and stiffness are to be expected at our age (I'm a vet, as well) but pain is definately a danger sign. Pain that is acute or sharp is a bad sign. You don't have to skip the warm up, but you can slow down and do fewer reps. The idea is to be present and participate, but not keep up with a 17 year old. You can repay any funny looks you get while backing off the conditioning with touches on the strip.
     
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  8. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Sort of sounds like what I was experiencing a couple of years back. I chalked it up to chronic inflammation, as it was not just the aches and pains from overworked muscles with which I was familiar. I started taking an ibuprofen and a turmeric capsule about an hour before fencing practice. That sort of solved the problem---I didn't hurt after practice or later that night or the next day.

    Eventually I decided to try out the so-called carnivore diet, as some claimed that it would get rid of the chronic inflammation. And apparently it did. I quit the ibuprofen and have felt fine since...or what passes for fine at my age.
     
  9. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Vet fencers should remember the handy phrase: "No, I won't be doing that - I'll be doing my own routine, thank you" and use it as needed.
     
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  10. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    Thanks for the support. I haven't started a different weapon, sticking with epee. I anticipated the pain in the knees and thighs as I work up to speed. But it does feel like I hurt in new places this time.

    I would like to find a trainer. But it's really got to be someone close to my age or that really understands that I'm active and an athlete and not geriatric. I don't want to be patted on the head and given 1 pound weights to lift in a chair. I had a bad experience a while back with two different doctors that looked into my joint pain and just told me it was part of getting older and just take some ibuprofen. If it was just a few years earlier, they would have send me to physical therapy instead and taken my concerns seriously like they did when I was in my 20's and 30's.

    I'm going to have to push back on the warmup before I seriously hurt myself. But I hate that because I just found a coach that I like and I'm not crazy about showing how weak I am.
     
  11. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I don't know where you are, but there are a couple of places near me that cater to training over 40 year olds. Like finding a good mechanic, sometimes you have to hunt around, ask a lot of questons, and be prepared to walk if you don't get what you're looking for in a trainer. But that's true of almost every professional.

    As far as the warm up goes, if your coach is smart, you shouldn't have to worry about keeping up with people half your age.
     
  12. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    I've tried a few places. It was hard enough to find somewhere that even has epee. Right now the place I'm going is already an hour drive. I'm lucky I have options. Where I lived before was two hours to the nearest club. You're lucky you have a choice of clubs.
     
  13. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Sorry, I wasn't clear. I was speaking of physical trainers/gyms that cater to older athletes, not fencing clubs. While almost all the clubs in my area have Vet populations, none of them cater exclusively to Veteran fencers.
     
  14. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    I *love* wiping smirks off teen faces.
     
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  15. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Do you mean soreness or actual pain?
    Exercise soreness is to be expected. There are remedies out there (ICE -- Ibuprofen, Compression, Elevation), and strength building. Those have been mentioned.

    If you have pain, go see a doctor.
     
  16. Black Widow

    Black Widow Made the Cut

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    I'm going to have to push back on the warmup before I seriously hurt myself. But I hate that because I just found a coach that I like and I'm not crazy about showing how weak I am.[/QUOTE]

    You aren't crazy about showing how weak you are? When you sustain a severe injury and are out for months, what will that show? The human body is not a machine. Adaptation takes time, it is a gradual process. There are no short cuts. That is a "developing athlete". If your coach is indeed that great he/she should know this and be willing to work with you on a program. Train, rest, rehab, nutrition. Live it love it learn it.
     
  17. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    Gotcha. I'll have to look for one of those.
     
  18. robert

    robert Made the Cut

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    There is usually a reason for pain if that is what it is and not some type soreness or discomfort. You should see your Dr to understand what is the cause.....is it muscle, joint etc. The forum is a great place for advise but I would not use it for medical advise. The answer may be anything from medical, conditioning, needing to see a physiotherapist, pacing of exercise to stretching. What non-impact or low-impact cardio can you do such as swimming or cycling? I am now fencing into my sixties but do footwork at least once a week in a swimming pool as less wear and tear on my knees and back. The club I coach at uses a school gym which has the old cork non-sprung flooring so I tend to do my conditioning on the bike and the pool so I save my gym flor time for fencing and coaching.
     
  19. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Story I've related before, I was whining about this aging thing to Kaz Kampe, VET 80 men's epee, and he commented "you ain't seen nothing yet boy". Where we used to be trying to push the envelope now we need to discover the envelope and how to live within it. That said one thing that I and probably all of us need to do is practice our form within our envelope. Yes, we have balance and flexibility issues. But something I've noticed is that parts that I'm using regularly are staying with me better with the caveat "so long as I don't abuse them". For instance I'm right handed and while I'll frequently feel like I'm pushing my right arm/elbow/shoulder it generally goes away. But my left? It really is weaker and hurts more and definitely needs more attention. One caution that others have alluded to, if we get hurt or drop out it's a lot harder getting back in the saddle afterward.

    Oh and yes, Pain is the new normal. The alternative is worse in my opinion.
     
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