Treat Those Nagging Injuries
Do you exercise regularly? Have you had an injury that dates back a couple of weeks or months that still bothers you? If you exercise regularly or had a previous injury, you might have some nagging pains or injuries that bother you on a regular basis. Now is a good time to have them checked out.
You exercise regularly for a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes we push our bodies a little too much and we get the occasional aches and pains.
These aches and pains generally go away but sometimes they linger for weeks or months. Injuries or pain that lingers is a sign or symptom that shouldn’t be ignored even if it is only mild. Pain can alter functional biomechanical movement that can lead to undue stress on joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Most nagging type pains or injuries are the results of overuse, repetitive stress or a minor accident to muscles or tendons. They result in pain due to swelling and inflammation. Many turn to over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Advil to help control the pain and inflammation. This only helps to control pain and temporarily relieve the symptoms. However, it doesn’t treat the problem. Playing or exercising through this pain and swelling can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation will cause weakness and the gradual breakdown of the tissue and further pain and swelling. This is the development of chronic nagging type injury.
Long-term pain and swelling can eventually affect your health benefits of exercise and can alter your mechanics and lead to further injury. Chronic pain can also deter you from exercising. It is important to avoid chronic pain and preventing further damage by allowing the injury to heal properly.
Some common areas where nagging pain can occur is with shoulder tendinopathy of the rotator cuff, Achilles tendon, elbow epicondylitis (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow), plantar fasciitis, the neck and the lower back. With chronic pain, the body will adapt and can even alter a movement to avoid and compensate for the pain. Altering the normal biomechanics of a movement to avoid pain will place further stress on the surrounding joints and tissues and can lead to further injury.
Treatment for these nagging pains should include heat prior to and ice after each training session to control the inflammation. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) treatments help control any post-exercise inflammation and relieve pain.
Heat should be applied prior to your training session to reduce stiffness by increasing tissue elasticity and stimulates blood flow. Heat can be in the form of a heating pad or a light aerobic exercise prior to your regular routine. However, having to apply these aids before and after are warning signs that something is wrong and requires proper evaluation.
The fear of most people is having to stop exercising because of the pain. Your physiotherapist will evaluate the injury and prepare a recovery and treatment plan specifically designed for you. Stopping exercise completely is not generally advised so an alternate exercise (e.g. swimming, cycling, rowing) or a reduction of your activity will be advised to help with the treatment. Your physiotherapist will evaluate the cause of your injury and discuss your training methods and advise you on changes to help avoid a recurrence. Then once you are on the path to recovery and pain-free, you should be able to progressively return to your regular exercise routine.
Remember a progressive return is best as most nagging type injuries are due to over-training; doing too much too soon, suddenly changing your exercise pattern or increasing intensity, duration or capacity. Chronic pain can alter your mechanics and lead to further stress on surrounding joints and tissues. Have your injury evaluated before it becomes a chronic issue and changes your exercise routine or stops you from enjoying your activity or sport.