4 Pains You Can’t Ignore

Consistent training and exercise has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Over time, however, your body can begin to exhibit signs of wear and tear caused by this constant training. As a weathered athlete, it may be in your nature to ignore the pain or walk it off without considering further repercussions, but there are four training-related pains that I suggest you do not let go unnoticed as they can quickly lead to more serious injuries.

1 – Lower Back Pain

lower-back-pain

When your lower back hurts, it’s typically a sign of under-developed or over-trained muscles located elsewhere in that region. Two prime areas that can cause this discomfort are your glutes and inner abdominal muscles. Over-trained glutes place a lot of strain on your lower back muscles if they’re not stretched properly prior to a workout. This can cause them to become tight, creating an unnecessary pull on your lower back.

Tight glutes can be identified by using the long foam roller to find trigger points in your glutes (tight knots that can cause a lot of pain elsewhere). The foam roller can help loosen them through active release.

Pay close attention to glute stretching, especially on leg training days to help alleviate pain occurring in this region.

If it isn’t tight glutes that are causing your lower back to hurt, then weak inner abdominal muscles may be the culprit. If this is the case, it may be time to start incorporating abdominal training that utilizes your inner core muscles. Exercises like the plank, ball roll outs, and lying pelvic tilts can help tighten these muscles, which will in turn, take strain off your lower back. Having a healthy muscle balance between your glutes and lower abdominals is essential in avoiding lower back pain.

Recovery & Prevention

Lower back pain can often be avoided by simply stretching on a regular basis, with a focus on the abdominals and lower body. Tight glutes and hamstrings are notorious for causing lower back inflammation.

Recovery for lower back pain should be diagnosed by a medical professional if the pain is serious enough, or if it becomes chronic. Otherwise, for minor back pain, this will generally subside on its own within a matter of days.

2 – Chronic Knee, Wrist, Ankle or Elbow Pain

The Interosseous membrane is the tissue that holds two associated bones together. In the forearm, it is responsible for holding the Ulna and the Radius together.

Interosseous MembraneIn the leg, it’s located between the Tibia and Fibula. When you run or jump, tension is placed on this membrane as the two bones separate under force. Likewise, when you bench, punch, or do a push-up, the same separation occurs between the Radius and Ulna. In both instances, this separation can cause pain in the knee, wrist, ankle, or elbow.

Worse still, as damage continues to occur in the membrane, other tendons and ligaments become affected, making it harder and more complicated to treat. Often misdiagnosed, this pain can be associated with syndesmosis, and is very common in fitness athletes due to repetitive routine practice.

Recovery & Prevention

To avoid further complication, it is important to adjust your training to avoid aggravating the membrane. It’s also beneficial to wear braces, proper training shoes, and increase your protein intake.

ALLFLEX is an advanced recovery reliever that promotes joint health and mobility and reduces the pain and inflammation associated with intense physical activity. As a proprietary blend it has been formulated for both active individuals and competitive athletes who participate in high intensity exercises.

3 – Shin Splints

Shin splints, known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), occur along the shin, usually at the tibia, but can actually spread up the entire shin. Pain is caused by an inflammation of the sheath surrounding the bone, and left untreated, shin splints can result in stress fractures.

Shin splints are generally caused by overloading the muscles of the lower extremities, this excess stress on the muscles and/or repeated stress on the connective tissue at the knee and ankle, will lead to shin splints. Shin splints are common among those who participate in regular strenuous activity, or more commonly, in stop-start sports and long distance runners.

Recovery & Prevention

To avoid and/or prevent shin splints, avoid running on pavement, stretch your soleus and anterior tibialis before running, and incorporate strength building moves such as toe raises into your workout.

4 – Rotator Cuff Impingement

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that attach together and surround the top, rear and front of the shoulder. It’s used in almost every movement you make with your upper body, making this one of the most important muscle groups. Without proper rotator cuff exercises, injury can become easy. Unfortunately, it’s also the most ignored in training.

The most common rotator cuff injury is an impingement usually caused by a forward motion (such as a bench press). If you continue to perform movements after an impingement has occurred, the area will become inflamed and sore.

Recovery & Prevention

Unfortunately, rest is the only treatment for an impingement, but you can prevent rotator cuff injuries by incorporating two to three rotator-cuff-specific exercises with light weights into your shoulder program. Not only will this help you protect your shoulders, but you’ll also see an increase in your overall upper body strength.

In Conclusion

Whether you’re an athlete going through extensive endurance training, or a bodybuilder constantly punishing your muscles by pushing the limits of what our bodies are capable of, it’s essential to listen to your training pains. Proper pre-workout stretching, combined with effective post-workout supplementation and nutrition will help you avoid these issues in most cases. If, however, you’re simply over-training a particular area, give it a rest! Walking it off may feel like the tough guy thing to do, but how tough can you be with only one shoulder?

Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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