Working Out with Musculoskeletal Pain

Justin W —  November 5, 2016

Physical exercise can often be the prescription for fixing problems stemming from bad joints, spinal misalignments, damaged tendons or ligaments or weak muscles. However, these problems often make exercise painful or even impossible to do. It is a catch-22. You know you have to exercise, but doing so is miserable. Here are a few tips that can help you through and around the pain, so you can get in shape and alleviate the pain.

Check with your doctor

Before starting any exercise program, it is good to check with a doctor first. Make sure your heart is able to handle the type of exercise you want to do. The doctor may also do tests to tell you what exact part of your body is causing your pain. Incorporate their advice into your plan for becoming pain free.

Recognize the purpose of pain.

Pain has a purpose. It alerts you to something that is not right in your body. It can show you where you need to put your efforts to get better. However, sharp, severe stabbing pains are a warning that you should stop doing things the way you are doing. For example, if you feel a stabbing pain in your elbow when doing a barbell curl, you may have torn something and should either stop or modify the exercise. You could still find alternate ways to exercise forearms, biceps, triceps and forearms, in a way that can stabilize that joint and facilitate healing.

Use isometric and bodyweight exercises.

Many people make excuses about why they don’t work out. One of the most common is not having the time or money to go to a gym or have necessary equipment to workout.  All you really need to exercise is your own body and a tiny amount of space. Yoga moves, stretches and simple exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups and push-ups can give you an amazing physique. If you would like some advice and inspiration, check Youtube for videos for bodyweight exercises and calisthenics competitions. It may blow your mind that such simple things could make you so strong. Don’t worry if you are weak or injured and can’t even do a push-up or pull-up when you start. There are many variations that can help you build the strength needed.

Try a chiropractor or massage therapist.

A chiropractor or massage therapist can not help you by directly building muscles you need to feel healthy and pain free. However they can relieve pain and misalignments that hold you back from being able to do the exercise that will give you long term relief.  Plus, getting a massage can relieve mental stress and increase your general circulation.

Eat well and get rest.

While you are healing, be sure that you give your body what it needs. Be sure to drink sufficient fluids and eat as healthy as possible. If you are building and repairing muscle, that takes protein. Those building blocks can take many forms, such as meat, beans or even protein powders that you mix into a drink or cook into other foods.  This could be as simple as eating a steak for dinner or adding protein powder into your morning pancakes.  Be sure to get plenty of sleep, because much of the body’s repair goes on while you are sleeping. If you are having trouble sleeping, don’t drink much alcohol. It might help you get to sleep one night, but it will disturb your sleep pattern for days after.  Try taking a melatonin tablet about ½ hour before you want to sleep. It is a natural sleep hormone and is non-narcotic. Taken consistently, it will greatly improve your sleep pattern. You may start finding yourself waking up at the same time every morning, or waking up without an alarm clock.

Follow these tips and keep at your exercise program. You can heal up and realign your body, to prevent future pain.

Justin W

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