Are you Paying Attention?
Your body is always talking to you. Between a busy daily schedule and training, it is all too easy to miss important signals that amount to a text message from your muscles and joints. Many people feel that they should play through the pain when their body is desperately trying to get their attention in the only way it knows how: pain. Sometimes pain and stiffness can mean “I just need extra time to warm-up” or, “I am sore, but otherwise okay.” There are times however, when the body has to shout it so loud you can’t ignore it.
A Helpful Rule of Thumb for Pain
As a rule of thumb, if you feel continuing tightness, severe dull or sharp pains after ten to fifteen minutes of warming up, there is a problem and your body needs you to listen. Persistent pain is a sign that something has gone wrong. The best course of action is to ease off and see if additional stretching or walking it off helps to ease the pain. Once the pain has subsided, you can try another round with less intensity to determine if you need to stop or if it is safe to continue.
Use your best judgment here. Don’t just grit your teeth and go on if the pain is substantial, give your body a break. When in doubt, get medical attention. Even if you do not think you need immediate medical treatment, try to elevate, ice and rest the affected area.
Hydrate and rest and allow your body the downtime it needs. Give yourself at least 24 to 48 hours away from strenuous activity. If the pain becomes worse or continues after a rest period of a couple of days, see your doctor.
Play it Smart with Sports Injuries
It is easy to want to push through pain barriers, but the truth is that you can cause serious, even long-term injuries, that could have been avoided by simply paying attention and allowing your body the rest it required. What began as a simple pulled muscle can escalate into a more serious injury such as a torn ligament or tendon, that requires surgical intervention to repair. You only get one body and taking care of it for a lifetime just make sense.
Once you have begun to recover from an injury, you may be tempted to return to your normal intensity or redouble your efforts to make up for lost time. The only problem is, this is exactly the time when you should be extra cautious. The injured area may be in the process of healing, but that means it is very vulnerable to further injury.