New Year. New You. New Pain?
It’s official. We have made it to 2019 and it’s a brand new start. If you’re anything like us, you’re feeling motivated, recharged and ready to really crush your goals this year. It’s the perfect time and opportunity to make a real change and start getting the results you’ve been wanting to achieve. But what happens you’re in the gym or on a run when all of a sudden your back starts to ache? Or your knee is feeling unstable? Or your hip is starting to talk in a way that you haven’t experienced before? The last thing you want is for your new 2019 routine to be disrupted and your progress to be halted…
So how do you know if the pain you’re experiencing is something to really worry about, or if it’s just a result of your body adjusting to a more active routine?
These FOUR questions will help you clarify the type of pain you’re dealing with, help you figure out what to do about it, and most importantly – prevent “new pains” from getting in the way of your goals in the new year!
1. Did you get pain with a new activity but it is improving as you continue?
If the pain comes and goes, and starts to decrease the more you improve your fitness level, it’s probably just a sign that your body is getting used to your new activities. For example, if you’ve started doing squats for the first time and notice some knee pain when you first begin, you shouldn’t worry unless the pain gets progressively worse as you exercise. Try adjusting the posture or position you are in and see if that helps.
2. Does your pain keep recurring after activity even if it goes away in between?
If your pain follows a pattern — e.g., your knee pain stays with you for the rest of the day after doing your squat sets but is gone when you wake up the next morning — means your body is trying to tell you something. This type of recurrent pattern is a warning sign that your body isn’t responding correctly to the exercise and could start to incur damage. If you know some stretches for the area or have a roller try using them but if this doesn’t help now is the time to make an appointment with a physiotherapist.
3. Is the pain causing you to move differently?
People who ignore pain without seeing a physio often end up here, which leads to a more difficult recovery. They often end up limping, walking “crooked,” modifying movements such as bending over, and moving stiffly. This is a result of your body compensating for the pain initially triggered by the exercise. Such compensations start to cause stress on other areas, which only create more problems down the road. If you’ve hit this phase – it’s still not too late to get some help. Working directly with physiotherapist will help you to quickly get rid of your pain and correct the compensations you’ve started to develop – so they don’t get worse.
4. Is your pain causing you to avoid or stop doing something you love to do?
When your pain is stopping you from doing something — whether that is doing squats, running, picking things up off the floor, or playing with your kids— it’s a sign that your body is in distress and needs help from a physio or your doctor.
Many of us may be planning new health and fitness goals for 2019, and plan to increase our activity levels. We applaud and encourage you as you work towards a healthier more active you and want to help you remain injury free so you can achieve these goals.
The moral of the story is, don’t wait to ask for help! You’re better off being extra-careful and addressing your pain early than waiting for it to become a full blown injury. If you are experiencing pain and/or need any help staying on track with your new movement program, don’t hesitate to reach out!