If exercise was easy, everyone would do it. Because exercise and physical therapy are about pushing your body to the limits in order to get stronger, at times it’s going to be uncomfortable. But what happens if exercise becomes painful, or you’re dealing with pain before you start your workout? Should you push through the pain and keep exercising, or should you avoid activity. We try to tackle that question in today’s blog.
Pushing Through The Pain To Exercise
It’s important to remember that this is just general advice, and that you should bring up your specific concerns with your treating physician or physical therapist. It’s also worth noting that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Ignoring pain and trying to push through it can lead to setbacks or a more severe injury, while shutting down at the first sign of discomfort can inhibit your recovery.
When it comes to determining what’s best for your body if you are in pain, it really comes down to listening to your body and making some smart choices. Like we said above, you should never always try to push through pain to exercise or always take it easy at the first sign of physical discomfort. You need to learn how to understand the signals that your body is giving off. That won’t always be easy, but you’ll want to begin working to determine the difference between pain and soreness.
Muscle soreness is a byproduct of healthy exercise, as it’s how your muscles and soft tissues get stronger. Pain, on the other hand, could be a sign of a strain or a more significant injury. The best way to help decipher between the two is to expose your body to some gentle movements and stretches. Oftentimes soreness fades as your muscles shift to an active state and you put a little pressure on them, whereas pain tends to intensify. This is just another reason why stretching is crucial before a workout.
If you are still unsure whether you’re dealing with muscle soreness or an injury, your next best step is to adjust your workout and partake in some lower impact exercises. Instead of going for a run, which could put more stress on commonly injured areas like your hips, knees and back, try some low- or no-impact exercises, like swimming, cycling, or yoga. These can help you experience many of the physical benefits of exercise without taking on as much stress, which can protect your body as it works to overcome the discomfort it’s feeling.
One final tip to consider if you’re still trying to figure out if you should keep exercising if you have pain is to sync up with a physical therapist. As we’ve said on the blog in the past, physical therapy shouldn’t be easy, but at the same time, it should not be painful. Our team of physical therapists have extensive experience putting clients through safe but challenging routines that get the most out of their body without exposing them to a heightened injury risk. If you’re worried that your current workout regimen may be causing your pain, or you just want to find a way to keep exercising in the face of soreness or discomfort, connecting with a professional is best.
Exercise should not be painful. If it ever becomes painful, stop and give your body a break. At the same time, a worthwhile workout routine will have you feeling a little sore the next day, but remember that this is a good thing. If you want help developing an exercise routine or working back from an injury, do it with the help of a physical therapist. For more information, or for help overcoming your physical limitations, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.
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