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Workout pains you shouldn’t ignore

Published On: November 10, 2017 09:26 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Whenever we sign up at a gym we are pretty much also signing up for months of muscles soreness. The good pain, they call it. It is all believed to be a sign of an effective workout. However, while you are powering through your workouts, you do want to be wary about the kind of pain you are feeling. The Week finds out there are some we should never ignore.

Avishek Kumar Jha, BPT, MPT (Musculoskeletal and Sports) at Sumeru City Hospital in Pulchowk, shares that he comes across cases of muscle spasm, knee, and hip pains on a regular basis. And many of them occur at the gym. Common culprits include heavy weights and the treadmill. Sometimes it is also about wrong postures and position mistakes on the gym-goers part, says Jha. But while one can hurt themselves in various ways while working out, he insists, there is always one constant. 

“Exercising isn’t the problem here. What aggravates the situation is people’s tendency to neglect the initial pain or symptoms. Rather than giving it the required attention and care, they choose to carry on with the workout sessions and that tends to land many at the hospital,” explains Jha. 
There have apparently even been aggravated cases of muscle spasm at the gym with heavy weights and such, where the patient hasn’t been able to stand or sit. There are certainly remedies for such pain. Jha talks about painkillers, electro therapy, ultra sound therapy, muscle stimulation exercises and even the benefits of a hot water bag. But you can save yourself the trouble of all that by being a little wary.

So to begin with Jha warns us about some of the kinds of pain that are more serious than the usual muscle soreness. Once you are aware of them, you can easily spot them.

Pain that decreases your ability to move properly
For instance, if you are working out with dumbbells and you try to raise it over your head, but can’t because you feel a sharp pain, then you definitely want to inform this to your trainer, suggests Jha. There are various causes of this kind of sharp or shooting pain that limits your mobility. It could be muscle tear or bone on bone contact. An impingement of tendon in your shoulder or a torn cartilage (meniscus) in your knee can also cause similar pain. Either way, these shouldn’t be ignored. You should definitely not power through this kind of pain. Instead, consult an expert.

Pain with swelling
Swelling can occur due to various factors. Your muscles might not have adapted to the exercise yet, you might be getting the technique wrong or perhaps the intensity of the workout isn’t suiting you well. Not all swellings are dangerous. In fact, Jha explains that they can be categorized into three classes. So while minor swelling (Grade 1 and 2) can be treated with rest, ice, compression and such, Grade 3 swelling may require a more serious treatment like surgery. So it’s best to be aware about this and pay attention to swellings immediately.

If initial care doesn’t help and the swelling and pain don’t subside and it continues to get worse, or even reoccurs later on, it is likely to be a continued injury to the tissue of the area. Ligament tear are also known to cause swelling. Consult a doctor.

Pain that lingers
Those who exercise will tell you when the muscles ache you feel it right through your body. The general soreness of the body, however, is very different to pain that is focused on just one part of the body or the pain that gradually gets more intense as you exercise. This isn’t the pain that goes away after you adapt to your exercise schedule in a couple days. Do make note of that.  

Pain that is accompanied with a pop
Most of the time, you can hear tear in ligaments or a partial dislocation. The pain is often preceded by a pop. This isn’t like the clicking of your knees or grinding of your joints and shoulders. This is distinctly different and more painful. You should never push yourself through this kind of pain.

Immediately stop whatever you are doing at the moment and rest for a while. In these cases, you don’t also want to leave things to mend themselves. Make an appointment with an expert so that you can prevent aggravating the situation.

As per the rule, in rest of the cases as well, Jha suggests that you wait and observe for the next 48 hours. If you don’t experience relief or improvements in the situation after resting, perhaps even using ice or recommended anti-inflammatory medication, then it is best to consider making an appointment. Feeling sore and some discomfort while exercising is normal, experiencing pain while working out, however, isn’t. 

Ways to prevent injuries while working out
According to Jha, it is really all about paying attention to the basics. You can prevent yourself a lot of trouble and pain by doing your warm up properly. Never skip the stretching exercises. They will help strengthen your core muscles as well. Make sure your warm up routine includes both upper and lower bodies.

Further, also note the frequency, repetition, and intensity of your workout plan. Jha says he has had patients in pain because they got their technique or their posture wrong while doing their exercises. So brief yourself on that from the get go itself. 

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