Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Your Engine Light Is On

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I’m always amazed during fall pre-participation screenings how accepting we’ve become to athletes reporting pain.

“Ya, it hurts, but it never keeps me from playing.”

That line is often followed by:

“Ok, let me know when it really bothers you” (which is usually too late) or, “just make sure you ice after practice each day (like that was some magic bullet which was going to keep them from missing practice or playing time during the year).

One of the most important reasons to screen your athletes prior to participating in athletics is to “filter” out those that experience pain during simple motions and motor patterns. If an athlete reports pain during a deep squat or a simple McKenzie press up, how do we expect them to get through fall camp?

Reporting pain is not a bad thing.  It’s simply an opportunity for us to address dysfunction before that pain becomes a problem.


“Pain is a warning sign. Long before pain represents a chronic problem, it can alert us to poor alignment, overuse, imbalance and inflammation.  We embrace all the other warning signs in our lives – computer virus alerts or the oil light on the dashboard – but when it comes to the body, we act as if the warning sign of pain is an inconvenience.  We cover it up so we can keep moving. If we ignore pain’s natural self-limiting nature, we are ignorant to the lessons its ancient design provides.”
p. 50. Movement by Gray Cook.



Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at