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If you work out, it is inevitable that injuries will occur. While you can do your best to avoid them, they will still happen from time to time. When you work hard your body is pushed to the limits, and when fatigue sets in, it’s more susceptible to injury. One of the most important things to remember during intense exercise is FORM. Our bodies can do some crazy and extraordinary things but that can work against us sometimes.
When you are fatigued, you REALLY want to make sure you are doing exercises correctly, with perfect form. Have you ever heard the term muscle recruitment? Your body will use all of its resources before it fails. When one muscle fails, it will try to recruit neighboring muscles to take its place to perform the given movement. For example, during core exercises when your abdominal muscles fatigue and ultimately fail, your body will recruit your hip muscles or lower back muscles to perform the given movement.
Generally, when you start to feel pain in your lower back during core exercises, it’s likely due to the fact that your abs are not in good enough shape to do the movement, or the muscles are too tired to maintain the exercise pattern. It’s very important to understand your body and to recognize the difference between a challenging exercise and a painful/harmful exercise. There are two types of pain: the pain where you are actually hurting yourself and the pain where it “hurts so good.” It’s a fine line, but its there!
So, the next question is, if you do become injured through exercise, what do you do? Do you continue to exercise? Do you do something to correct the injury? Do you seek medical help? There are a handful of ways to deal with injuries, and it all depends on the type and severity of the injury. Once again, its really important to know your body, and know how severe your injury actually is… because if you let every little injury knock you out of sport and exercise then you will never work out again.
A few factors to consider that might affect how often and how severe injuries may be:
Some of the more common injuries and how to deal with them.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness from Exercise
What is it?
This is basically what happens to your muscles 24-48 hours after extreme exercise. It’s completely normal and should be expected. The amount of soreness depends on intensity, duration, and type of exercise. Any movement you aren’t used to can lead to DOMS, but the eccentric contractions cause the most soreness.
How to deal with it?
Dynamic Warmup pre-exercise
Stay active (Active Recovery) – the worst thing to do is do nothing
Foam Roll Stretch Post-Exercise
R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate)
Knee Pain
What is it?
The knee is the general term used, but usually it’s a specific ligament, tendon, muscle, or joint that’s causing the pain. Most of the time it takes medical professional to diagnose the specific problem. The ACL, PCL, LCL, MCL and meniscus are some examples of parts of the knee that can be injured during exercise due to the amount of stress put on the body’s knees.
How to deal with it?
Using a Foam Pillow Carefully Can Augment Recovery After Intense Exercise in Santa Rosa
Foam Roll – A lot of the time foam rolling can stretch out the muscles that are causing pain and release pressure on the tendons and ligaments.
Modify exercises – either reduce the range of motion, or limit the amount of impact during exercise.
Seek medical help if the pain continues
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
What is it?
The IT band is a thick muscle that goes from the hip, down the outside of the leg and down to the knee. It is a prime muscle used by athletes, thus takes a lot of punishment. Even worse, it’s very difficult to stretch and is a prime stabilizer muscle and can cause a lot of knee and hip pain.
How to deal with it?
Foam Roll/Deep tissue massage – Foam rolling and massage will help keep the muscle lengthened and stretched thus keeping it working the way its supposed to. (Side note: during exercise the muscle will become unbalanced due to external and biomechanical factors)
The take home message here is that injuries are going to happen but you need to do your best to limit them. Know and understand your body. Be proactive and eliminate the occurrence of injuries through proper warm ups, exercise form and stretching routines. And finally, when you do get hurt, take the appropriate steps to correct the problem before it becomes more serious than it needs to be.