I would like to specify that I am not an injury specialist and I share my personal experience. I often receive questions how to work out if …… hurts (put whatever body part you want where the dots are). When it comes to injuries there isn’t one solution to all. Every person is different, every injury is different and there could be many variations to it. There is no way for me to determine the kind of injury you have, how it happened and why it happened. Also, I am not an injury specialist!
What I do when I feel pain?
1. I stop all exercises that cause me pain until I am totally okay.
2. I start working out the injured zone again when I haven’t been in pain for at least 1-2 days.
3. I start exercises for the injured zone with much lighter weights and less reps.
4. I observe if the pain comes back.
5. If there is no pain, I take some time to go back to the previous reps and weights.
These 5 steps can take from 1 to 4 weeks. I’ve noticed that if it doesn’t go away for a week, I have to start doing recovery exercises for that zone or to find a way to work out without including it, because the recovery period is longer. I don’t really have injuries and I’m very lucky in this respect (or because I obsessively warm up before EVERY work out and if I feel that today is not my day, I don’t push myself).
Why injuries happen?
1. The body is not ready for the pressure it gets. The beginners’ enthusiasm is contagious and they try to work out as much as they can – twice a day and do long workouts. Usually in 4-5 weeks their feet, knees, joints will start hurting. If you rest right away, it will pass for a few days. Afterwards you have to work out with less pressure, for example working out only once a day. Few are the people that can always do 2 workouts a day. Listen to your body, if you’re in pain all the time and you have muscle soreness, you need to rest more!
2. After sitting all day on a chair, the body is introduced to big pressure when working out if you don’t warm up. Even if you warm up, 20 minute workouts are a huge stress if you sit all day. When sitting on a chair, you lose flexibility, the muscles get used to one pose and you have to stretch more. Even though I work out every day, my job is really to sit for many hours and I have to warm up more. I make a great workout if I run for 10 minutes, instead of running only for 5 minutes before the real workout.
3. Except the workout, the body is under additional stress that is not taken in count during the workout. For example, if I’ve slept less than usual, I am extremely careful how I do the exercises. It is not the time for a maximum. I am careful doing things slower and I watch out for signals if something somewhere doesn’t give in. I usually do a slower workout in which I work on doing the techniques better. The slow repetitions are way harder than the quick ones, especially if you try to be perfect. During such slower workouts I focus my mind on what I feel, I do the workouts in my mind, too. I don’t film those 🙂 because where is no way to dive in myself and to count and explain at the same time 🙂
4. An imbalance between the different body zones. For example, being more flexible from right to left. Then you put more pressure onto your right zone and compensates the lower flexibility of the left and the result is that you’re in pain to the right. The decision is to work on more flexibility to the left and not to do something for the hurting right 🙂
What were my pains?
Usually the pain doesn’t start while or after working out, so I can’t really tell where it comes from. More over I know I’ve been careful not to injure myself and I’m even more surprised when it happen.
Feet – I felt it last summer and I think it came from a pair of sandals that were a bit loose for me and I unconsciously tried to grasp them with my toes in order not to slip. It hurt around the arch. It went away after I spent a week of 3-4-5 hours per day wearing heels. It happened by accident, I had 2 meetings at nigh and I made myself fancy. I noticed after the meetings that my feet was relieved so I continued for a few days to wear high heels. It passed quickly 🙂 and without paying much attention to it.
Heel – this was very weird and it lasted long. I wasn’t in pain during workouts or while sitting, but only if I bend from a stand and I start springing my hands to the floor. I think it was a problem with the flexibility of the back thigh.
Knee – it happened a few months ago. I stopped putting pressure on it and it passed for about 10 days. I did exercises for the back thigh only.
Collarbone – this one was also for long (1-2 month) and I did this to myself with a lot of push ups in which just one side is stressed on, like a push up with a raised leg on the side. I think I just stretched it. It’s all better now.
Around the right shoulder-blade – me an my kinesitherapist think it’s the rhomboid muscle or a trapezius muscle (you can’t be sure with these things). This is a chronic injury that shows up from time to time (less and less often). I think it has something to do with me using a computer mouse with my right hand and carrying a heavy laptop bag on my right shoulder.
What to avoid if you’re in pain?
Knees – stop all jumps, running and lunges until you’re totally recovered. Squats (deep) are okay if you’re not in pain – try and listen to your body.
Feet – stop all jumps and running until you’re okay. Afterwards, try with a couple of minutes of jumps and if you’re not in pain all the time, you can increase reps, but have in mind that it’s a weakness for you.
Shoulder – this is super unpleasant, I know people that have this pain for a long time and cannot workout the chest. Stop all exercises that cause you pain. There are some recovery exercises, but they are a subject of another article.
Waist (lower back) – stop all jumps, running and crunches if the lower back is not fully on the floor (it’s very important for the lower back to be always lying on the floor and not to have a distance from the floor and body).
I hope I was helpful though not specific. My advice is if you’re in pain because of a certain exercise, stop doing it until you’re fine. Don’t stop working out at all, just be creative so it doesn’t hurt at all. If after a week you don’t feel better, look for help from an injury specialist. If they tell you to stop working out – change the doctor. Don’t use painkillers, because you won’t know if you are getting better, they don’t really help, too. I would take painkillers only if the pain disturb my normal life. From the creams available, Perskindol works great for me, but it might not be for everyone, depends on how sensitive you are to the ingredients. Other creams I’ve tried contained arnica, buckeyes, camphor.