Your Workout Injury Prevention Plan

Can you relate to this scenario? After putting it off for too long, you commit to get fit—only to find yourself injured the minute you start working out.

All of the sudden your fitness goals go back on the shelf and you are left to deal with the pain.

Whether your injury occurs right off the bat or after years of regular workouts the result is always the same. It is discouraging, painful and downright depressing.

And since studies suggest that up to 38% of all exercisers suffer from an injury each year, it is a subject worth exploring.

Top 3 Workout Injuries
The following three ailments occur commonly among active people. Let’s explore the cause of each and then detail your very own injury prevention plan—because let’s face it, you simply don’t have time to spend nursing and injury (and losing all that progress you had made).

1. Strain / Pulled Muscle: occurs when a tendon (connects muscle to bone) or muscle is stretched or torn. If you suffer from a strain you will feel pain and swelling in the muscle belly, or loss of function if the strain occurred in a tendon. Many strains occur as the result of an improper warm-up and insufficient stretching.

2. Sprain: occurs when a ligament (connects bone to bone) is stretched or torn. While this can happen to any ligament in your body, the most common placements of sprains are in the ankle, wrist and knee. Often this injury will happen suddenly as the ligament is stretched beyond its normal limit, usually during a fall or other acute trauma.

3. Low Back Pain: it is said that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives—and the list of causes is as diverse as the sufferers themselves. Here are the main reasons for workout related back pain:

  • Improper form: Similar to bad posture, using improper form while performing weight bearing exercises will leave your back sore and aching. The good news is that once your form is corrected this pain should subside after a healing period.
  • Weak muscles: If you have a desk job then chances are your deep back muscles are inactive and unconditioned. When you start an exercise program, but fail to properly strengthen these muscles, the result is often an aching back.
  • Strained muscles: Not to pick on that desk job, but another result of sitting all day is tight back muscles. When these muscles are not properly warmed up and stretched before exercise begins, muscle strains occur.

Your 5-Step Injury Prevention Plan
Injuries don’t have to slow you from meeting your fitness goals. The following 5 steps will dramatically reduce your chance of injury and if you do find yourself injured, but have been following these 5 steps, your recovery will be quick and efficient.

Step 1: Stretch
What is more boring than stretching? You want to exercise, not sit around touching your toes—right? Even though it isn’t exciting, stretching is the best way to increase muscle elasticity and durability. Tight muscles are big contributors to strains—remember? Take the time to stretch everyday before and after your workout to stave off injury.

Step 2: Warm Up
Preparing for your workout should not begin and end with putting on your gym clothes. Your muscles need to be coaxed into motion by way of a 10-15 minute warm up in order to prepare them for injury-free use. Cold muscles are less elastic and are therefore more prone to tears.

Step 3: Proper Gear
For most fitness enthusiasts proper gear has everything to do with their shoes. Don’t be fooled—not just any shoe will do. Find shoes that offer support and traction for your exercise of choice, and make sure that they aren’t too tight or too loose. If you are prone to ankle injuries then try a pair of high-tops for extra support.

Step 4: Lifestyle
Stop for a moment and think about your car—if you don’t maintain it with regular tune ups, oil changes and quality fuel then you can’t expect it to perform well on the road. The same applies to your body. Getting healthy amounts of sleep, eating well balanced meals and staying hydrated will all contribute to your performance during exercise. The healthier your lifestyle is the less likely you are to suffer an injury.

Step 5: Condition
This may seem like the most obvious step to injury prevention, but unfortunately it is the most overlooked. People who keep their bodies in top condition by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the least likely to injure themselves. When exercise programs are started and stopped sporadically your muscles are most likely to become injured.

Of course being conditioned also has another great benefit that everyone enjoys – you get to look and feel great! And who doesn’t what that, right?

If you’ve ever tried to rehab an injury or continue your post-rehab programming on your own and didn’t succeed, I feel your pain. Until now, trying to bridge the gap between your healthcare and fitness on your own has been difficult.

The best option? Core Physical Medicine! Our goal is to help you achieve a healthier life. We believe that being healthy is more than just the absence of pain. True health is having the ability to do what you need and want to do. We have helped hundreds of patients regain their quality of life and would love to include you on our list of successes.

Wouldn’t you love to see awesome results before this summer comes to an end? Simply contact us today to get started. It’s time to take action and get the results that you deserve!

Living with Low Back Pain

Second only to headaches as the most common neurological condition, lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in life. Low back pain is a leading cause of missed workdays and difficulty completing the daily activities of daily life.

The good news is that most low back pain goes away within several days. Short-term – a.k.a. acute – low back pain is usually attributed to some sort of trauma (sports injury, housework, heavy lifting, or car accident), a medical problem (osteoporosis, diabetes, pinched nerve, disc disease, or arthritis), or other condition (obesity, stress, smoking, poor posture, or scar tissue from a previous injury). The pain may be shooting or a dull ache and it may limit your range of motion.

The bad news is that while most bouts of lower back pain passes quickly, some episodes of back pain take much longer to heal and may lead to other serious conditions. Occasionally, the pain becomes chronic, lasting for more than three months. This pain slowly worsens and the cause may be unknown.

What can you do to relieve low back pain? And if you’re prone to back pain, what steps can you take to prevent future episodes?

Start with Self-Care

If you experience low back pain, you don’t have to head to the doctor right off the bat or come to see us a top chiropractor in Coppell. Often, you can use a few common home remedies to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and restore range of motion. When three days of self-care doesn’t reduce the pain, seek medical attention. Now to the DIY care!

To reduce pain and inflammation, apply a cold compress to the area for 20 minutes several times a day for two to three days. Then apply heat (hot pad, warm bath) to relax muscles.

If pain interferes is debilitating, one to two days of bed rest may help. Bed rest for longer than this may be counterproductive and actually worsen pain. Resume light activity as soon as possible.

It may surprise you, but exercise may be the best remedy for low back pain. Exercise helps strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. Start slowly with stretching exercises and low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or Yoga. If pain worsens or isn’t relieved, stop exercising.

Pain medications are helpful to relieve acute and chronic back pain. Try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. You may also find topical pain-relieving sprays or creams helpful in reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the area.

Ounce of Prevention

If you’re prone to frequent back pain, here are some steps to lessen your chances of it reoccurring.

This may be a no-brainer, but the first step to reducing your risk for back pain is to avoid or change the activities that cause you pain. Whether it’s heavy lifting, bending over to tie your shoes, or reaching up into a high cabinet, find someone who can assist you with those pain-inducing tasks. If your back aches in the morning, try sleeping with a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back, or between your knees if you prefer your side. If sitting for long periods flares your pain, place a small pillow behind your lower back against the chair.

To lessen your chances for low back pain, improve you posture. Sit and stand up straight. Also, regular exercise, including strength training to strengthen your back, core, and leg muscles. Exercise will also improve your posture.

On top of bad posture and a lack of exercise, stress can make your muscles tense and lead to low back pain. Unfortunately, this pain can lead to additional stress – a vicious cycle! In the event excessive stress is a part of your life, learn how to manage it with relaxation techniques.

Finally, if possible, wear low-heeled shoes instead of high heels, and quit smoking. The toxins from smoke lessen your pain tolerance, lead to osteoporosis, and decrease circulation, all of which contribute to low back pain. And keep a healthy weight, as carrying extra weight – especially around your waist – places a strain on your back.