Can I Exercise with an Injury?

Can I Exercise with an Injury?

So let’s say you’ve been doing upper body strength training at YouFit gym these past couple of weeks and all of a sudden you notice pain in your left elbow joint. You’re worried it might be an injury.

Should you rest? Should you stop doing exercises that use this particular joint?

While the idea of letting your body heal and recover is correct, you can still exercise and stay active even with an injury. You just need to take precautions and work on the uninjured parts of your body. I’ll talk about this in detail below.

Injury vs. Soreness

You first need to differentiate between a genuine injury and general soreness, as this will determine the type of exercise that is safe to perform. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) typically occurs one or two days after a strenuous workout and is a natural response to challenging your muscles or not properly warming up. Unless the pain persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you can continue to exercise.

Now if you’re dealing with an injury, the recommended course of action will depend entirely on your specific situation. Before resuming or initiating a workout plan, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional who can promptly diagnose and treat your injury. They can guide you in finding an exercise routine that promotes healing without exacerbating the injury.

However, keep in mind that certain injuries may require a complete break from physical activity.

Listening to Your Doctor

The advice you receive from your healthcare provider regarding exercising with an injury will depend on various factors, including the location, nature, and severity of the injury, as well as your overall health.

They may suggest replacing certain exercises with alternative ones, modifying your current routine (such as using lighter weights or incorporating more rest days), or even temporarily discontinuing specific activities until your condition improves.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may refer you to a physical therapist who can prescribe exercises tailored to promote healing and strengthen other parts of your body. It is essential to follow their recommendations diligently and continue the prescribed exercises for the suggested duration.

Making Sensible Modifications

Suppose you have a knee injury, for instance. In that case, your healthcare provider may advise you to avoid cardio or lower-body strength exercises. However, unless instructed otherwise, you can still focus on strengthening your upper body. Consider transitioning to seated or lying-down workouts to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the injured joint or muscle.

Now if you have an upper-body injury like a shoulder or elbow problem, you can concentrate on lower-body exercises while allowing the injury to heal. Modify your routine by excluding exercises that involve the injured part of your body.

For example, if you’ve hurt your arm, refrain from using hand weights for a few days. If your lower body is affected, substitute leg-centric exercises with upper-body strength training. Always consult your healthcare provider or physical therapist to determine the best approach for your specific situation.

Avoiding the “No Pain, No Gain” Mentality

If you experience pain in the injured area stop the activity immediately and consult your doctor. If the pain gets worse during modified workouts, try a different exercise. However, in certain cases, you may have to discontinue exercise altogether, especially if the injury makes it difficult to maintain proper form.

Allow Yourself Time to Recover

Skipping workouts to prioritize your body’s healing process can be frustrating, but pushing through can prolong recovery and potentially worsen the injury. If your healthcare provider advises rest, taking it seriously and listening to your body’s needs is crucial.

Remember the POLICE Principle

The POLICE principle is often effective in managing many sports-related injuries (replacing the previously recommended RICE method). Following these steps can aid in the recovery process:

  • Protect. Rest the injured muscle or joint and use assistive devices as necessary (such as crutches or braces).
  • Optimum Loading. Gradually reintroduce movement and gentle exercise while still protecting the injured area. Increase intensity and range of motion over time.
  • Ice. Applying ice can help reduce pain. Consult your physical therapist for guidance on the best approach for your particular injury.
  • Compression. Use an elastic bandage to wrap the injured area, which can help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured area using a pillow, ottoman, or block to further minimize swelling.

Depending on the nature of your injury, additional support such as wraps, braces, or splints may be recommended. It’s crucial to ensure that any supportive devices you use fit properly.

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