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Ouch! What should I do if I feel pain during or after a workout?

Feel the burn! 

No pain, no gain! 

Use the pain as fuel— keep going! 

Some pain is good; it indicates muscles being torn down and rebuilt to build muscles. Other times, pain suggests injury. What’s the difference between good pain and bad? How should you respond when you feel pain during or after a workout? Roxette told us to “listen to your heart,” but we believe your body will tell you how to respond to pain. In this blog post, we’ll let you know how to react to different types of pain and offer a few tips on how to avoid injuries while working out altogether. 

Obligatory disclaimer: We’re not doctors (nor do we play them on TV). This advice comes from years of training others and ourselves, but a blog post can’t diagnose or treat injury. When the going gets tough— even the toughest athletes need to go to the doctor. 

FAQs about exercise and injuries

What should I do if the pain is tight, sore, or aching?

After an incredibly intense workout, a little pain is normal. If you’re experiencing muscle stiffness, soreness, or aching pain, try rest, massage, and heat or cold to ease the discomfort. A heating pad will help muscle soreness, while ice helps reduce swelling or inflammation. Some gentle stretching can relieve the tightness and prepare you for your next workout.

What should I do if the pain is sharp or stabbing? 

If you’re experiencing sharp or stabbing pain, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and get yourself to the doctor. This type of pain could mean an injury to a bone, nerve, or cartilage, and only a doctor can diagnose your precise injury.  

Can I exercise with an injury?

That is a very specific question with a wide range of answers. The answer will look different depending on the type and severity of the injury. You may be able to exercise immediately after minor injuries with the help of a wrap or a brace. More severe injuries require physical therapy to help you ease back into your exercise routine. 

Listen to your body, and rest when you need it. It’s better to take a day or two off instead of the several months you’ll need while you recover from surgery.

What should I do to minimize the risk of injuries? 

One of the best ways to avoid injuries while working out doesn’t happen during the workout. The warm-up and cool-down might be even more important than the workout itself. Take the time to ready your muscles, and they’ll reward you with an injury-free session. 
More than 36% of all exercise-related injuries are due to overexertion. It can be tempting to go extra hard in class or at the gym. After all, adrenaline’s job is to make you feel invincible. However, once the adrenaline’s gone, you’re left with pain (without the gain).

Last but not least, reducing the risk of injury comes with good form. Properly executed, a lunge can strengthen your leg muscles. With poor form, you could be lunging your way to a knee injury. 

At Enhancewell Fitness, we emphasize fun and form. We create a party-like atmosphere but always keep an eye on each student’s form— making corrections as necessary. Sign up for a group lesson or a private session today for a fitness routine that you (and your muscles) will love! 

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