I consider myself a very active guy. I exercise almost every day of the week, and many of my workouts are pretty intense. But I love doing it. And I also make sure I take care of myself, before, during and after. I always properly warm up before working out and I always take the time to stretch when I’m done. But taking care of yourself during a workout is important too. So what does that mean? Well, depending on what exercises you are doing, it will be a bit different, but it basically comes down to proper form.
Most injuries occur during physical activity as a result of improper form and not understanding the right way to do an exercise. Whether its resistance training or cardiovascular activities, there are going to be right and wrong ways to do it. It’s important to understand this and be an active participant in your workouts by paying attention to your form.
It sounds easy enough, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to “lose” yourself in an exercise and let your form fall apart, resulting in injury. For example, if you are running and you find yourself taking uneven strides on one side of your body, you open yourself up to a whole host of injuries, from your foot up to your lower back. Or if your doing a bicep curl and again your form starts slacking, you can end up with shoulder or neck pain. Those are just two simple examples.
Two of the biggest areas we suffer injury and pain are the back and neck. In fact, they are leading causes of loss of work, second only to the common cold, affecting 65 to 85 percent of the U.S. That pain is usually brought on not only by poor form when exercising, but improper posture or a bad ergonomic environment. Of course there are also other factors, including previous injuries, wear and tear, age and osteoporosis. And for how extensive the list is of causes of back pain, so are the treatments. However, depending on the type of pain your having, there are definitely effective treatments.
Pain management often takes a multidisciplinary approach, but first we must identify the type of pain your having.
— Acute pain is defined as severe short-term pain.
— Chronic pain is pain that is unrelenting and not “self-timing” and can persist for years.
— Neuropathic pain is often described by patients as being a burning, electric, tingling and shooting in nature.
— Nociceptive pain is localized pain described as sharp, aching or throbbing.
So if you find yourself with any one of these types of pain, what should you do? First, seek proper medical attention, but here are some pain management treatments and therapies you may want to consider.
— Pain-relieving medication: There is evidence that anti-depressant and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be effective for a variety of pain conditions. But like with many drugs, there always exists a chance of dependency and significant side effects.
— Physical therapy: Probably the most well-known treatment, physical therapy addresses proper body mechanics, building strength and flexibility through exercise and injury prevention.
— Biofeedback: This process uses electrical sensors attached to special points on a patient’s body and monitored by equipment reading feedback of the patient’s progress.
So as always, I encourage you to get out there and move more, but please make sure you are not setting yourself up for injuries and pain by moving improperly. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
Mike DeCinti can be reached at 910-827-2439.