When Exercise Hurts


It has come to my attention in speaking with clients over the years that people are often unaware of when to push ahead and when to hold back with their exercise routine. The old “no pain, no gain” attitude of the past is still prevalent in today’s society. You may ask yourself: How can I reduce the chance of injury? Is it better to work through the pain? How can I set up an effective exercise routine to reduce the chance of injury?

A proper warm up and light stretching prior to engaging in intense activity has been shown to be effective in reducing chance of injury. This becomes even more important as we age due to a gradual stiffening of our body when our connective tissues more elastic (elastin) fibers are replaced by less pliable collagen.
What if you’ve warmed up properly and still have pain? This can be due to a potentially serious injury, imbalances in the body, or a possible disorder originating from the spine. A history of either trauma or poor postural conditions can lead to an immediate, or a slowly developing spinal dysfunction. This can lead to pain, impaired muscular coordination, tension, or areas of weakness in the upper or lower extremities.

Post exercise delayed onset muscle soreness is our bodies’ way of telling us the repair process is underway. This repair process is a series of timed biochemical effects that must take place in order for proper recovery to occur. This is different from the burning feeling you may experience during exercise. When the body cannot produce ATP quickly enough to supply the demands of the muscle the buffering systems of the tissues are overcome, this causes pH to fall creating a state of acidosis. This should not be confused with a sudden sharp or piercing type of pain which may begin prior to fatigue, or lasts long after the activity has stopped. This is the type of pain that should be avoided and not pushed through.

There are many great options for reducing the chance of injury; such as splitting up a routine into a heavy/light regimen, or into two shorter sessions per day, you can even train certain body parts on certain days.

Cycling an exercise routine is a safe and effective way of reaching fitness goals. This can be done by slowly introducing an activity and increasing the intensity by slowly increasing weight, repetitions, distance or rest periods between successive exercises. This is a common practice among professional athletes such as runners, and power lifters. They often set up an advanced progressive routine over a 6 to 10 week period with realistic goals. This is often followed by an active rest period, which gives the mind and body a chance to rest. Many advanced athletes know you cannot push with 100% year round without risking injury.

For more information on how exercise can help you prevent or recuperate from musculoskeletal injury, call Physiotherapy Associates at 1-888-PHYSIO-1 for the clinic nearest you. Anthony Pribila PT, CMP, CEAS can be reached in Weston at (954) 389-3222.

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