Pushing Through Pain
By Natalie Cannady -
Manager, UAMS Fitness Center
June is the month of weddings, cookouts, and just plain outdoor fun. Being in pain and not able to participate is not something that anyone wants to endure during this busy time of the year. Below are some tips on injury treatment, and signs that you need to seek medical intervention.
We all have little aches and pains that we deal with daily. Every once in a while there are times when you are injured and cannot workout. Knowing the difference and listening to your body are very important. If you are experiencing pain after you exercise, there are a few steps you need to take for injuries that are not severe.
If the injury is severe; proceed immediately to the Emergency Room. If you have severe swelling, severe pains, immediate bruising, bruising that turns black immediately, nausea, dizziness, or experience loss of consciousness; go to the nearest Emergency Room.
For non-severe injuries there is an acronym that I like to use: R.I.C.E.
Rest- Obviously you do not want to keep going on an injury!
Ice- Ice will take the swelling down and help with the pain some.
Compression- If you do have swelling, such as a sprained ankle, keep it wrapped up.
Elevation- Elevate the injury above heart level to prevent excessive swelling. (Lie down and elevate.)
If you are able to follow the RICE method and you are not better in a few days, make an appointment with your physician. Pushing through the pain is never advised and the old saying, “No pain, no gain” is never applicable.
For sore muscles, the best advice is to keep moving. When your muscles are sore, it is the product of little micro tears in the muscle fibers. Moving will help keep healthy blood flow to the area and promote faster healing. If you can take anti-inflammatory drugs, they can also help with sore muscle pain and some injuries. Consult your physician as to which anti-inflammatory you should take and if you are able to take any at all. (Medication interactions are no joke.)
Important Tip--Use heat when you know you are going to be up and moving. Use ice to get rid of swelling when you are not going to be up and moving around. A lot of people make the mistake of using heat too much because it feels good and end up causing more swelling in the area that is being treated. Ice is going to take away swelling and will speed up your recovery time. Be sure to talk with your therapist or doctor about the proper treatment plan for your injury.
Once you are feeling better, and are cleared by your physician if necessary, you can continue with your exercise routine as before. Just make sure you take it slow and listen to your body! Do not let an injury persist over a long period of time without treating it. If you are not seeing improvement in a few days—seek your physician’s advice.
If you are injured and in need of a good outpatient therapist; UAMS has many great therapists who can assist you. Ask your physician about being referred to a UAMS therapy clinic near you. You can visit http://www.uamshealth.com/rehab for more information!