Ouch, That Hurts! Common Causes of Workout Pain

man with back painMost people have experienced soreness after exercise, and have even returned to their workout the next day still feeling the residual aches of yesterday’s session.

Even worse is sudden pain during exercise—something has gone wrong when you feel a tweak or a pull. These dos and don’ts will help you avoid common causes of pain at the gym.

Knee Pain

Don’t assume it is your squats or lunges that cause your knee pain—your symptoms like sore knees, crackling joints or pain during deep bends might show up during certain exercises, but it may be your form (or lack of it) that is causing the actual problem.
Do check your technique and take the time to learn the correct way to perform you exercises. Knee problems are one of the most common complaints at the gym, and may be related to worn out cartilage or previous injuries to the tendons or ligaments. Alignment is a key to avoiding knee problems. Details matter, like the placement of your feet, and the position of your hips, knees and ankles. Once you have all that down, rest assured that squatting and lunging are actually beneficial exercises for your entire lower body.

Back Pain

Don’t lift more than you can handle, or move in ways you’re not ready for. If you don’t have a strong core to support the weight you’re lifting, or if you sit or stand all day with little movement of your spine, you are more prone to hurt your back when you work out. A simple twisting or bending motion can suddenly cause wedging or even bulging of disks in your spine.
Do know your limits, work your deep abs to support your back strength. Add some flexibility work and warms ups to make sure your back is ready for action. See our last edition of The XSport Life to gain more understanding of the muscles that surround your spine and what movements might build them as well as strain them.

And PS: of all the body areas that can benefit from a recovery massage, the back is one of the leaders. Releasing sticky spots along your spine and shoulder blades not only feels great, it helps more oxygen flow, which aids healing.

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Don’t forget to wear proper shoes that support the movements you are performing, especially during cardio with impact, such as running or aerobics class. A tired, weakened ankle is ripe to be turned or twisted.
Do seek out a specialty shoe store for a gait analysis and fitting if you are putting many miles or hours per week on your ankles via the treadmill, dance moves, or a step class. Different bodies have different needs based on their structure. You want to be comfortable and stable in your footwear, to avoid a painful sprain, strain, or case of inflammation.

Muscle Strains

Don’t believe all the hype about “no pain, no gain” – when you do too much, too fast or too soon for your ability, you can not only cause yourself pain, but cost yourself gains, too. It takes weeks to recover from many common muscle “pulls” such as a hamstring, where a strain impairs many of the other movements you can safely or comfortably do as a result.
Do pace yourself. Overuse is a serious condition for your body to cope with, so monitor your progress with an eye on feeling as great as you possibly can, not tearing your body down completely in order to prove something. Also, do some dynamic warm ups before you jump into exercise—get your blood flowing to muscles to prepare them for their task. Finally incorporate variety and alternating exercises to develop a more balanced body and avoid overtraining a certain area… plus don’t forget to rest body parts in between workouts!

If you do exercise extra hard and feel it, or tweak something even when you tried not to, remember the R.I.C.E. treatment: rest, ice, compression (wrapping) and elevation. And again, studies have shown that basic massage therapy after workouts eliminates soreness and pain in a variety of athletes. A post-work out massage can truly work wonders on the hips of runners and cyclists, and the backs and shoulders of those in a strength program!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>