When you exercise, your muscles and tendons are stressed beyond their usual limits and microscopic tears occur. This is normal, and as these tears heal, the muscles actually become bigger, firmer and stronger! However, not listening to your body nor allowing it enough rest to recover from strenuous activities can lead to a “nagging injury”. Lingering pain is the body’s alarm system telling you to “be nice to me!”
Ask yourself these questions to help determine what steps to take for care:
Stage 1 – Do I have pain during an activity that stops after a few minutes or when I finish the task? (My knee hurts at the beginning of my run and then goes away.)
Stage 2 – Do I have pain during and after an activity? (My foot keeps hurting after my run.)
Stage 3 – Do I have pain that persists with normal daily activities – stairs, walking, sitting? (My back hurts for 2-3 days after running.)
Stage 4 – Do I have pain that stops me from training or adversely affects my daily activities? (I hurt every time I run and avoid stairs at all costs because of my hip pain.)
What should I do next?
Stages 1 & 2: These early stages indicate a need to further assess your training. Are you using good technique? Do you have enough recovery time between workouts? Do you have the right footwear for your training style and body type? If self-management does not improve your symptoms quickly then you need to seek out further professional help.
Stages 3 & 4: These stages indicate it is time to seek professional management of your aches and pains. It is in your best interest to find an expert that specializes in biomechanics and exercise prescription (physical therapist, chiropractor, etc) to help you make specific modifications to your training routine.
GOOD NEWS: There is always something you CAN do, despite your temporary ailment. When you have a nagging pain, it’s important to keep active while protecting your area of injury from further harm. First, we must understand that there are different phases of healing after every insult.
Our clinic specializes in working with athletes of all kinds and helping them get back to the activities they enjoy. First we diagnose your injury with digital x-rays and the most advanced diagnostic tools available. Then our team of providers uses their tools and resources to help you reduce inflammation while maximizing your body’s performance.
A thorough Rehabilitative & Recovery Plan should include:
• Activity Modification –what we do on a consistent basis will either help or harm the healing process. Sometimes we need ergonomic support or advice on technique for daily tasks.
• Modalities –ice, heat, ultrasound, cold laser, &/or electrical stimulation can be used for pain, swelling, stiffness, or spasms as needed.
• Manual Therapy –soft tissue massage & joint mobilizations are important to facilitate remodeling along essential lines of mechanical stress.
• Medicine –pills, creams, or injections are used to address severe pain, swelling, & inflammation.
• Stability, Strength, Power training –this is a necessary exercise progression to build up a core foundation to better tolerate dynamic functional activities.
Our office is one of the few places in town where you can get all of these things in one place. Contact our team if you or a loved one have experienced a sports injury. We will get you back in the game with our extensive array of services and tools. Contact us today by calling 865.691.3155.
-Written by Jamie Ligon, PT, DPT