working out and injuries

“Injuries obviously change the way you approach the game.” – Brett Favre

A significant percentage of Americans are physically active. This activity can range from a few visits to the health club each week, to a sustained regimen of prescribed CrossFit workouts. 

According to an article at Popular Science, 

“According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control, only about 23 percent of all U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise per week. That’s 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, plus two bouts of muscle-strengthening exercise.”

However, among that roughly one-quarter of active Americans, men tend to engage in more comprehensive workout regimens, while women tend to be less likely to include muscle strengthening exercises. In addition, some geographic regions tend to have higher percentages of physically active or “fit” individuals than others. 

But what is universally common to anyone engaged in exercise is injury.

The Most Common Workout Injuries

The reality is that an exercise or workout injury can happen to anyone, regardless of their experience or fitness level. Even stretching or mild calisthenics can result in an injury.

Here are the most common workout injuries according to WebMD:

  • Muscle pull and strain
  • Sprained ankle
  • Shoulder injury
  • Knee injuries
  • Shin splint
  • Tendinitis
  • Wrist sprain or dislocation

A breakdown of sports injury statistics by cause and age group looks like this:

Cause of Injuries           Under 5     5 to 14     14 to 24    25 to 64       65+        Total

Exercise or equipment      7,103        54,407     110,072     282,716     72,052    526,350

Prevention Beats Treatment

While there are no guarantees of always experiencing an injury-free workout, there are steps you can take to make it far more likely.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines for preventing workout injuries:

  • Warm-up and cool-down
  • Stretch before and after

 

  • Start slow
  • Cross-train
  • Know your weak areas
  • Be aware of your body
  • Hydrate before, during and after
  • Fuel your body

 

 

Other tips to follow include engaging a trainer before starting a new exercise routine, especially something like weightlifting, wearing proper clothing such as well-fitting shoes, and taking time to rest in between workouts. 

As we’ve noted in previous posts, taking care to avoid actions or activities that are more likely to cause pain or even an injury is especially important when working out. In addition, taking some proactive or “preemptive” steps can help, as well.

This could be actions like eating well, staying continually hydrated, and balancing your exercise or workout activities with proper amounts of sleep and rest. Maintaining a comprehensively strong and active body is critical, as well. This means avoiding overworking certain parts of your body or engaging in only a few types of exercises or activities. Variety is more than “the spice of life” – it can help prevent overuse of certain joints and muscles.

Pacing your activities and workouts is critical, as well. 

Avoid rushing into workouts, exercise or physically vigorous activity. Stretching and warming up sufficiently is absolutely essential for preventing and avoiding pain and injury. Along with proper preparation, proper execution is significant for injury-free workouts and other strenuous physical activities.

Body and spatial awareness can and should be developed and heightened. And these are vital to pain and injury prevention. Listening to your body and knowing what and how it moves can cause you to function more efficiently and gracefully. 

For example, avoid exercising when you’re sick or drained from overtraining since body fatigue can increase your risk of workout injuries. Pay attention to your joints – they should never hurt as a result of exercise. If they do, stop the exercise you’re doing, or you’ll increase the risk of workout injuries.

Treating Minor Workout Injuries

Despite our best intentions, if we’re physically active then Injuries can happen, no matter how careful we are.

If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:

  • Rest. Rest and protect the injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
  • Ice. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat to the area that hurts. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
  • Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling. Don’t wrap it too tightly, because this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.

Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help ease pain and inflammation from the injury. Check before using them if you take any other medicines or have medical problems.

And, if the injury has not improved within a week or gets worse, you should seek medical care.

Once you’ve fully recovered from your injury start up your physical activities or workouts slowly. You’ll need to rebuild your muscle strength and endurance and this can take up to three weeks or so to regain your pre-injury fitness level. If you work too hard and too fast, you may re-injure yourself. 

Exercise Injury Help From Pain and Performance Solutions

Many of our patients come to us because of injuries or chronic pain resulting from exercise, workouts or sports activities. And we have the experience of working with numbers of people who have successfully recovered from these injuries, as well.

The key to helping you achieve full recovery is understanding how your body moves through your injury pain and compensates for movement dysfunction. We would love to schedule a consultation with you here at Pain and Performance Solutions. During your initial visits we can learn more about your sports injury and explain how Neurokinetic Therapy® can help us diagnose the underlying cause of your pain.

However, before we can commence with any diagnosis of an injury or chronic pain, our first step is getting to know you. We can’t determine how to diagnose your chronic pain without getting a good understanding of your history and what you’ve been through and where you are now. Setting up a consultation is the first step in your journey to recovery, so feel free to contact us at (707) 636-4404 or fill out our online contact form.