We all know the adage ‘No pain, no gain’. But pain or discomfort when you’re exercising could, in fact, be your body’s way of telling you that something is up, and now’s not the time to be pushing through it.
There is, of course, the ‘good pain’ – if there can be such a thing – which we experience when we exercise, like the burning sensation in our muscles when we lift, or the can’t-walk-down-the-stairs tightness the day after a workout (the day after leg day is NEVER fun). This is totally normal, and all part and parcel of helping our muscles get stronger.
However, there are some types of pain which we should never ignore…
Pain with swelling
Swelling is the body’s natural reaction to injury. It floods the affected area with blood and fluid, which contain nutrients to feed the tissues and help it heal. Rest the affected area, keep it elevated if possible, and use ice to reduce the swelling. If the swelling persists, or returns with activity, pay a visit to your GP or sports injury professional as it may be a more severe injury.
Pain with a limited range of movement
If you’re experiencing pain in a joint, and you find you have limited movement at the same time, it could be a sign that something is in the way inside the joint, be it swelling or an obstruction. Rest, and get it checked out.
Painful popping or cracking
Small, painless pops and cracks are normal as gas bubbles pop in your joints as you move, but if you hear a pop or crack which is also painful. it could indicate a more serious tear or injury, especially if it swells after. Stop what you’re doing, elevate and ice if it’s swollen and get it checked out ASAP.
Sometimes when you’re training, you get a twinge and it goes away as quickly as it came. However, if you feel pain which worsens, or doesn’t go away as you continue your session, don’t ignore it. Stop, as you may cause further damage if you continue.