Can I Work Through the Pain?
Tips for working out with back or knee pain, and when it’s time to take a rest
If exercising is part of your regular routine and has been for a while, you probably hate to miss a session. Gym rats (even those who never set foot in a gym) look forward to getting their sweat on and just feel off if they can’t do it.
This is why a lot of people work out even when they shouldn’t, namely when they’re in pain. Sure, soreness is normal, but the pain isn’t. But if you absolutely can’t miss a day, here are some tips to keep in mind if your back or knees are hurting:
Change to low-impact exercises
Anything that involves jumping and sudden stops or pivots will exacerbate both back and knee pain. This means that if your fitness plan typically involves hitting the basketball or tennis court, you’ll want to find something else to do for a while. Walking is a good low-impact exercise option.
Avoid hard surfaces
Because surfaces like asphalt or concrete don’t absorb shock, they put stress on the knees and spine. This is why it pays to find other surfaces to play on. The grass is a good option, as is dirt (such as dirt walking trails), but the best choice may be a treadmill.
Work out in the water
One of the best ways to get in a workout when things are aching is to get in the pool. When you’re floating in the water, there isn’t any stress on the knees or back. And this doesn’t just have to involve swimming; there are many other effective water workouts.
Skip certain types of weightlifting
Any exercise that involves raising weights above your head or resting them on your shoulders should be avoided. These include shoulder presses and weighted squats. These types of exercises put a strain on the spine and joints.
Be sure to warm up
It’s never a good idea to skip a warmup, particularly if you’re hurting. This is because even low-intensity workouts stress the body. A good warmup gets the blood flowing, raises your temperature, and prepares your body for the activities to come.
When to take some time off – or even see a doctor
As much as you may want to fight through the pain and keep going, often this just isn’t a good idea. In many cases, you can make things worse, which could result in your missing action for an extended period. Don’t ignore any of these signs with your knees or back:
Warning signs with your knees
- Noises. The occasional cracking is normal, but if it’s accompanied by pain or swelling, it isn’t. If there’s a pop followed by sharp pain, this might be an ACL tear.
- Sudden swelling. If a knee suddenly swells up, often this is an indication of a tear or fracture.
- Interior movement. If you feel something moving inside your knee, this might be loose cartilage or even a piece of bone, and these objects can eventually get into the joint.
- Pain when walking up stairs. If the simple act of climbing stairs hurts, this could be osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative disease.
Warning signs with your back
- Shooting pain. Pain that shoots up and down your back may be a muscle spasm or something much more serious, such as a compression fracture or herniated disc.
- Tingling limbs. Another sign of a possible herniated disc is when you feel pins and needles in your legs or arms along with pain.
- Intense pain when sitting or lying down. If things only hurt more when you take a rest, something’s not right. This type of discomfort is called axial back pain, and the good news is that in most cases, it goes away after a few weeks.
- Back or neck injury. Wear and tear is one thing, but if you fell or suffered some sort of injury to your neck or back and the pain is ongoing, not only do you need to stop your workout, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Don’t let a little pain keep you from reaching your fitness goals. With CopperGel, you can quickly and easily relieve joint and muscle pain so you can get back in the game.