Sore no more

Don't let workout aches and pains come in the way of your fitness. If you're just beginning a new sports or exercise programme, be well-informed and understand the degree and severity of the pain you experience

woman doing stretching exerciseIf you’re just beginning a new sports or exercise programme, be well-informed and understand the degree and severity of the pain you experience.

Doing so will help you in identifying and handling minor issues at an early stage and thereby prevent major injury in the long run.

Here, I will outline some common as well as serious injuries that you may experience when beginning or building a workout routine.

The types

Primarily, workout-related aches are classified into two types:

Immediate Onset Muscle Soreness [IOMS]

It is felt during activity or immediately after a workout. It usually happens due to a sudden change in your exercise routine or due to absence of a warm up or cool down. Such soreness is normal and does not necessarily signal any problem. It often occurs when you have taken a break from exercise for some time, if you are increasing the intensity of your workout, or are just a beginner. A gentle massage of the affected muscle or a light stretch brings relief.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness [DOMS]

It is usually experienced 12 – 48 hours after exercise. It can occur when you begin a new exercise routine, do an activity with no warning to the muscle, or if there is a sudden change in your movement patterns. This too is normal and can be relieved by gently massaging the area, giving rest to the affected part and icing, if necessary.

The effects

Overdoing your workout or not giving the muscle adequate rest can cause several issues. The good news is that you can address most of them on your own.

  • The first issue is fatigue, which happens due to overdoing a particular activity or workout. With a bit of rest, the muscles recover.
  • A strain, also known as a pulled muscle, is slightly more serious [usually accompanied by pain, soreness and discomfort] and affects the muscles only. It is caused due to weakness and overdoing a workout.
  • A sprain affects the ligaments—the fibrous tissue that connects a bone to another. It is caused due to sudden movement like twisting or due to muscle weakness. Note: Both these injuries can be treated immediately with P-R-I-C-E—protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation—of the affected muscle or part. You can also use a topical cream for instant relief.
  • Cramping occurs if there is fatigue or lack of sodium in the muscle or even dehydration in the body. This gets relieved by drinking plenty of fluids, gently massaging the affected area, and stretching.
  • Bruising, defined by a haemorrhage under the skin and can be treated immediately with R-I-C-E [rest, ice, compression and elevation].
  • Wounds or burns can also occur if there is a cut from a sharp object or contact with excessive heat or friction. In case of such wounds while playing a sport or exercising, employ first-aid procedures such as disinfecting, cleaning and bandaging.
  • Subluxation [incomplete or partial dislocation of a bone from the joint] can occur if there is weakness in certain muscle groups, sudden forceful movement of a joint, or an awkward fall. After medical attention, the affected part is normally supported or put in a sling.
  • Dislocation shares the same causes and treatment as subluxation, but is more serious as the bone becomes completely displaced from the joint and needs to be treated by a medical professional.
  • A fracture or broken bone can occur if you have a sudden fall or if a heavy object [usually an exercise equipment] falls on the body. After medical attention, the bone is set and then put in a cast.

Most aches and pains can be self-identified and addressed. However, there are more serious sports and workout-related injuries that may need medical attention, in rare cases, immediately. Some of these include physical trauma, circulatory shock [failure of the circulatory system] and concussion [brain injury].

Adithya Shetty
Adithya Shetty has a fellowship in Sports Sciences and a post graduate diploma in SPSN [Sports Physiotherapy & Sports Nutrition]. He is the co-founder and head of Exercise and Sports Medicine at Zela Luxury Health Clubs. Apart from being in the team doctor for several sports team, he has provided all the sports medicine support including fitness assessments, training plans, nutritional guidance, injury assessment and general medical management for the blockbuster movie, Chak De India.


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