The expression “no pain no gain” first became popular in the 1980s among the body building community as meaning that exercise that “burns” or causes pain is the only type that brings results. This statement has been proven to be not entirely true. While some discomfort is expected with resistance training, pain can sometimes be a cause for concern.
At the beginning of your exercise you may feel some soreness. This is why warming up before exercise is so important. Athletes who dive into their workout without warming-up before or cooling down afterward may suffer pain from strained muscles or torn ligaments. Athletes that are just starting out may find that they become sore a day or two following their workout. While you should not begin your workout with stiff or sore muscles, you do not have to abandon your exercise. You can warm up, then stretch the sore muscles. As your muscles become stronger, you will find that exercise becomes more comfortable. Then is the time to move to the next level.
A sudden onset of pain during exercise should warn you that something is not right. In the experienced athlete, pain may be related to overuse, or from resuming play too soon after an injury. An acute injury resulting from an impact or twisting can also cause pain. Tendinitis, inflammation of the tendon can cause sharp, burning pain, requiring you to stop the activity and rest. The athlete who tries to continue playing in the presence of pain can exacerbate the injury and surgery may be needed. Failing to get treatment can result in a chronic injury which can eventually sideline an athlete.
Pain may also be a sign that you are using incorrect form. This happens a lot during weight training. The lower back usually takes the brunt of incorrect lifting, resulting in unnecessary back pain. Continuing to exercise in the presence of pain is counter-productive. You are putting undue strain on the muscles and they will suffer injury. Poor technique and weak muscles may also cause pain in amateur athletes and those who play weekend sports. Their muscles have not been conditioned and are therefore subject to pain. Older athletes may also experience pain as a result of deteriorating joint cartilage and weak muscles.
Some pain is expected with exercise and sport. However, pain that persists more than 48 hours and doesn’t go away with rest and icing should be taken seriously. If the pain is felt in the joint, restricts your movement and/or is accompanied by numbness and tingling, come in and see us, or your doctor.