Pain in the ???
As we get older, trying to stay fit and healthy becomes a little more difficult as the chances of injuring yourself increase. Our ageing bodies simply can’t handle the stresses and strains that they once could with our joints tightening up and our muscles seeming to fatigue at the thought of exercise. The suppleness of our youth has long deserted us, leaving us open to inevitable, more injuries..
Preventing the unknown is near impossible, so to reduce the chances of injuring yourself, try and work into your exercise routine some form of stretching and strengthen. Pilates, yoga or simple stretches are a great way to start, especially if you have been desk bound for more most of the day.
Some of the more common injuries related to exercise can be prevented, and ultimately will heal, given rest and time..
Not surprisingly, the knees are one of the most common sports injury we sustain, especially in any contact sport like football, rugby, hockey etc. The damage can range from a broken or bruised patella or more commonly, torn cartilage/ ligaments (Anterior ACL, Lateral LCL, Medial MCL, Posterior PCL) or torn Meniscus.
Symptoms: Depending on how you have damaged your knee, pain is often sudden and severe and sometimes preceded by a popping sound. Swelling straight after the injury will occur and definitely within the first 24 hours. The join will feel loose and the ability to put any weight on the leg without pain will not be possible.
Treatment: Often a brace or some support and some rest will heal a minor injury. A major knee injuries (torn ACL, Meniscus) may require orthopaedic surgery to repair or replace the damaged ligament or cartilage followed by a lengthy time off to let the injury heal. The length of recovery may depend on the severity of the injury as well as the age and health of the patient.
Prevention: It is difficult to work on the one specifically, but strengthening and stretching the hamstrings and glutes will help provide overall strength for the lower half of the body enabling your body to distribute any sudden impact.
Sprained ligaments and muscles are very common and will occur in any exercise. A sprain can occurs when the ligament has been stretched greater than its usual range causing inflammation and pain on its rebound.
A pulled muscle occurs in much the same way as a sprain, with the retraction causing swelling and inflammation as seen with the ankle and hamstring when strained/pulled.
Symptom: Depending on the area injured, swelling, tenderness and bruising are likely in the first few hours. Injuries to the ankle or hamstring will usually make waking or putting weight on the leg difficult.
Treatment: Mild injury will require resting the injury, taking an anti-inflammatory, ice and stretching the affected area. Severe damage may require some invasive surgery to repair the damaged ligament or tendon.
Prevention: Start slowly and warming up with a mild stretching (more intensive when fully warmed up)before starting any exercise. Incorporate some stretching in you daily routine when not exercising ie: brushing teeth. Strengthening your core via palates or yoga will reduce stress on your glutes and hamstrings. If you start to feel sore, stop straight away and rest your body for a few days to let your body recover, a few days now is better than weeks later.
Shoulder pain often happens as a result of inflammation to our rotator cuffs, the most common of the injuries is called Shoulder Bursitis. This happens when the tiny fluid filled “bursa” sac, that reduces the friction between your bones, becomes inflamed. This could be as a result of a previous injury, overuse and can lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms: A loss of rotation in the shoulder area accompanies with pain and discomfort. Shooting pain can often be felt through out the day. Lifting your arm will often be difficult and very painful with the circling of the arm virtually impossible. Discomfort why trying to lye on your side.
Treatment: As the bursitis is often inflamed, resting the shoulder and avoid any activity that it likely to aggravate the issue. Applying an ice pact combined with an anti-inflammatory can help alleviate the discomfort. A shoulder brace can help reduce the weight of your arm on the shoulder as well as reminding you of your injury.
If home treatments aren’t sufficient, corticosteroid injections from a doctor maybe necessary for long term sufferers. This option is limited to a few injections as each injection could rupture the tendon. Surgery, involves removing the damaged tissue causing the irritation or removal of the bursa, making room for the tendon.
Prevention: Shoulder stretches 2-3 times a day can help stretch/strengthen the muscles and reduce tension in the area. Stretches that specifically target the shoulder area are the 1. Shoulder blade squeeze, 2. Posterior stretch 3.Shoulder blade range of motion roll.
Bursitis is a chronic condition which is usually triggered from overuse, identifying what sets it off will go a long way in helping your recovery too.
Lower back ache and ageing go hand in hand and is on the rise for all ages. The sedentary lifestyle, poor posture and excess weight has all led an increase in lower back problems. Previous sporting injuries can often return, reappearing year later and becoming more difficult to shake off, especially combined with any of the factors above.
Osteoarthritis, a disease of the joints, is the most common form of arthritis in the UK. It affects the joints as the cartilage lining between our joint disappears putting more pressure on the joints, causing inflammation and ultimately affecting movement.
Symptoms: Lower back problems are easy to identify with complaint of stiffness, aches, limited movement, muscle spasms, shooting or stabbing pains in one of both legs which could mean Sciatica(irritation of the sciatic nerve which runs from your hips to your feet).
Osteoarthritis will cause the joints to stiffen and become very tender, swell and painful. Other area of the body will often be affected like the hips, legs and breathing.
Treatment: Depending on the severity of the problem, medical advice and an operation maybe the only option. Pain management for daily discomforts may include anti-inflammatories along with heated pads or cold compresses can provide some temporary relief.
Stretching, with a focus on the affected area can be very helpful through pilates or yoga. Swimming with a float will help strengthen the muscles and can take pressure from the area.
Prevention: The back is a very delicate area and all care should be taken to look after it as you will soon notice when it doesn’t appreciate how it’s been treated. Lifestyle choices are not only important for you body, but they will definitely reflect on your back.
Stretching can aid in strengthen the back and reduce tension. Change your sleeping position, using the pillow between your legs and sleeping with out a pillow, neutralising the spine. Posture, try to avoid slouching either at the deck or walking around, and try not to spend more than 40 minutes at a time sitting down. Exercise to get healthy and shed those extra pounds, the additional weight does nothing for your back. Avoid heavy lifting and the use of improper techniques will only cause further damage.
It’s definitely no fun being injured and the chances only increase as we get older. Taking a few precautions like warming up and stretching can hopefully prevent anything seriously happening to you. If the injury persist or it doesn’t show any sign of getting better, it’s best to seek medical advice, as it might not be what your thought it was.
I seem to be bouncing from one injury to another. The unfortunate thing is that no one has told my stomach, and that’s still consuming like an Olympic champion ! I may have to incorporate a sit up or 2 before it’s too late.
It is so easy to injure yourself. I played golf, once everything had re-opened up, and after 4 months of not playing I couldn't walk the next couple of days as my back was completely out of sync with the rest of my body. I was in agony, my golf muscles had taken a holiday !