Is that pain normal or an injury?

There are often times that we wake up or go through our day before we get our exercise session where we might feel aches and pains. We might feel something nagging at the end or after a workout. We might start a workout and have a nagging pain start. The question always is ‘is this an injury or just a stiffness that needs to work itself out’ and ‘am I okay to keep going or will I do damage.’

Injury is the fear of active people. It means being sidelined from activity and perhaps having our work and lives impacted negatively. That makes it more important to take of little aches and pains so they don’t become bigger issues.

While we are exercising or going through our day we will have little aches and pains come up. In general, if those pains lessen and do not get worse when you start activity, then it is fine to continue the exercise. If a pain starts while you are exercising the same premise exists. If a pain starts and stays the same during the activity, not getting worse, then you are fine to continue. If a pain comes up and is severe enough that it hinders your movement or activities then you should decrease your intensity, speed, or stop the activity all together. The idea is that if you are provoking pain - bringing it on, or making it worse, then the body is trying to signal you that you are doing too much and making it worse. So decreasing what you are doing until it hurts less or not at all, or stopping is the best course of action.

Once you are done the activity, you should stretch, roll, ice or heat the injury (ice for pain, heat for stiff - I will cover this at a later blog) and see how it responds. If it improves, then continue on that course. If it does not improve, then you should seek medical attention for it.

This does not apply to traumatic injuries - spraining your ankle, or straining your back. It is a guideline for those overuse injuries that come up slowly. Traumatic injuries, that occur in one incident or accident, need to be seen to immediately and there should be no activity on them until you have assessed the extent of injury.

Each person knows the aches and pains of their body that they usually experience with exercise. There is usually increased aches and pains when you start something new or increase your workout. But when those pains increase, or something new crops up, it is important to pay attention to it and do what is necessary to ensure it heals and doesn’t become something worse.

Please feel free to submit comments and your own strategies for training when injury is threatening. Share this blog post on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to get our weekly blogs delivered directly to your email address.

Thanks for reading!

THP The Healing Path