Should You Exercise Through Pain?

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The Sports Injury Clinic

Ellie Russo

June 2, 2020

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While COVID-19 has forced us to slow down over the past few months, many of us have used it as an opportunity to kick start or speed up our exercise routine. The benefits of regular exercise are overwhelming. The list includes strengthening bones and muscles, improving our mental health and mood, reducing risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and allowing us to do the activities we want to be able to do throughout life. 

Despite all the benefits that exercise provides, there is always a risk of injury that goes along with it. This could present as something obvious like rolling your ankle whilst running or something that creeps up on you like a nagging lower back pain every time you do your strength training.

During COVID-19 we have seen an influx of people coming in sore after starting these new fitness regimes. Many of them report that they felt some pain whilst exercising but decided to push through because they thought it would just go away - but unfortunately it didn't, in face it got worse.

Pain is complex and the decision to seek professional advice can be a difficult one. Sometimes we experience short-term pain whilst exercising and this can also leave some lingering pain later in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Some handy things to think about when looking at your pain when exercising are: 

  • How long does the pain last during exercise? Does it linger after exercise?
  • What is the severity of your pain?
  • Is your pain increasing each time you exercise or is your ability to perform the task getting worse?
  • Are you getting pain in the area over night?
  • Is there physical evidence of injury such as swelling or bruising?
  • Does the area effected feel unstable or as if it may give way?

If you are unsure which category your pain falls in - soreness within a normal range or an injury, it is always a good idea to get it looked at by a professional. Physiotherapists can assess, treat and advise you on the best course of action, with the aim to improve your pain and prevent it from happening in the future whilst continuing to help you stay fit, strong and healthy.

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The Sports Injury Clinic acknowledges the traditional owners of the land, the Bunurong people, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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