Working Past an Injury

There is no avoiding the unavoidable.  Whether you have been injury free your entire life or not, sooner or later you are going to get bitten by the injury bug.  This might happen while you are working out, running, or simply doing some other daily activity. 

Often times, an injury will destroy the fitness plan of even the most motivated individual.  They feel there is nothing they can do, and slink back into their sedentary lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this happens far too often as most people think they are powerless to an injury. 

Whenever there is a strain, pull, or otherwise unnatural sensation in our bodies we need to ask ourselves some basic questions.  Keep in mind our bodies are designed to give us helpful information and feedback, as to prevent further damage.  Some things to consider are:

  1. Have I just started a new workout program?  Perhaps the “injury” is simply a sore muscle from starting a program that is initially too intense.
  2. Did I practice an adequate warm-up leading up to my training session?  Did I make a post-workout stretch a priority?
  3. What is my life like outside of the gym?  Are you sitting at a desk all day or doing heavy manual labor?  Maybe you have been cramped into a planet seat for many hours ona  cross-country business trip.  You want to determine whether you have been excessively sedentary or active leading up to your injury.
  4. Has intensity of my workouts increased suddenly?
  5. Does one side of my body feel tighter, or unbalanced, compared to the corresponding side? 

By answering these questions, it will help us avoid potential injuries.  Use common sense and take things easy if your body is already particularly stressed.

Once an injury has occurred, don’t allow yourself to fall into a panicked state.  Keep a few things in mind so that you may continue a healthy, and active lifestyle.  Keep in mind however, it is ALWAYS best to speak to your doctor first and follow their advice on such matters.

  1. Sometimes a or pain in a particular region is not a result of an injury in that region.  For instance, a knee pain may actually be a result of a problem in your hamstrings or glute muscles.  Neck pain may be related to a tweaked nerve in your lower back.  Avoid focusing on the source of pain and examine your body as a whole.
  2. Work above and below the injury source.  If you are experiencing a hip injury, try working on upper body exercises, and lower limb exercises.  Always listen to your body and if pain persists, stop what you are doing.
  3. Strains in the body are often mitigated by movement.  Our first reaction when dealing with a strain is to limit movement.  This is not always the best strategy.  Low-impact activities such as using an elliptical or swimming are great for relieving the pain associated with strains.
  4. Training with an injury may require us to lower our load and/or volume.  Lower the weight until you are at a level that does not cause further discomfort.  The key is to stay in your routine and be as consistent as possible.  This will make getting back into the swing of things easier when they injury has cleared up.

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