Lately it seem that almost every conversation turns into a complaint-fest about aches, pains, injuries, surgeries, arthritis, etc. — the litany of our debilitations seems endless. The former strength of our bodies is fast turning into the fragility of our bodies and of course it will just get worse.
On the positive side of pain, I’m always pleased when “good” pain results after doing the right amount of exercise. My triceps muscles are still thanking me for a workout last Saturday with 8 pound weights and lots of reps. Abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, calves are some other key areas that I like to tax, and it’s gratifying when they talk back to me.
But, if I’ve over-done my exercising, I’ll feel “bad” pain, typically in my neck, rotator cuff, lower back, or knees. I try to be super-conscious of what’s bad for those areas, and I like to think I know what to avoid, such as: torquing the knees; shoulder presses above my head; side planks; back bends; fast lunges. When instructors say ‘speed it up, faster, faster’, I tend not to. Non-violent kinds of moves are best.
But, precaution doesn’t always work, and exercise-related injuries can still occur. These are some actions I take when I’ve injured myself:
- Feel sorry for myself
- Scold myself
- Apply ice
- Wear a brace — ankle, knee, elbow, lower back
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Go to the Doctor and get an Rx for Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy is by far the best remedy for a stubborn, lingering injury. Here are my experiences with PT:
Neck (about 20 years ago) – Diagnosed as arthritis, but after a few months of amazing PT, it was gone. Rare recurrences, which I attribute to sleeping crookedly, are cured with Advil, stretching, and massage.
Rotator Cuff (2008) – Diagnosed as “not torn, just frayed.” A few months of PT eliminated the pain and full function was restored (pretty much).
Lower Back (2013) – I felt my back ‘go out’ when I stretched backwards over an exercise ball, which I’d done loads of times before. I thought I could just endure the pain and spasms, and deferred taking meds, because I wanted to see if my body would heal itself. After a month, went to the doc who told me that I should have started anti-inflammatories immediately, otherwise it takes much longer for them to do their job! She also prescribed PT, and the relief was gratifying, and I got lots of good advice.
With all these instances, I still have to be super-careful to avoid re-injury. Bottom line: Be gentle to your body, listen to it, and don’t be afraid to get help.