5 Common Sense Ways To Manage An Injury While Still Exercising
- Take 1 week off. I know the title sucked you in with learning how to get better without rest but the truth is you need to figure out if rest is going to help the condition. 1 week is a short period of time and you can gain a lot of information from a little rest. It its better when you go back after 1 week then you know you need to alter your activities and change the frequency.
2. Decrease the frequency. If you did step 1 and got some improvement then that means you likely have an overuse injury. Overuse injuries do not always require you quit activity but often how frequent you do the activity is why it is staying irritated. Try to cut the activity time each week in half and see if you start to improve.
3. Identify the problem. Even if you have an overuse injury that is often not the whole story. Many times when people start to get pain during exercise it is because they are over stressing a specific structure. By looking for weakness or lack of flexibility around the painful area can help you identify what the real cause of the problem is. Example: We frequently see shin splints. That is pain in the front of the shin. Most of the time this comes on when people start to run more than usual and they have tight calf muscles. So getting the shin pain better doesn’t require any more than just some calf stretching.
4. Stretch AFTER the activity NOT before. Many pains that people get after exercise can be avoided by stretching the structure after you workout. For a long time we were conditioned to stretch before and not after. During activity the tendons and muscles are getting worked and they need to be stretched out afterwards. This can go a long way in preventing pain from exercise.
5. Let someone trained manage your problem. Most of the injuries that we see in the clinic that have been going on a while could have been nipped in the bud if they were addressed earlier. As PT’s we don’t feel like we need to see patients for every ache and pain but if those things are sticking around more than a couple weeks they are probably not just going to go away. Let someone that is trained in managing injuries figure out what is exactly wrong, whats causing it, and how can you manage it while continuing to perform. This is what we are trained to do and we want to keep as many people active as we can.