The Basics of Taking Care of Joint Pain
The more active you are, the more stress you put on your body. They joy of gravity! Exercising in general puts a lot of stress on your joints and muscles, and it’s common for people to experience pain and discomfort in these areas as they start working out for the first time, or pick up the intensity.
With that, it’s super important to know the basics of how to deal with these issues to prevent potential injuries, and so you can be at 100% when you’re at the gym or home working out. There are a few things (four to be exact) you can do to ensure these minor pains don’t escalate into a serious issue.
If you’re like me, acronyms are a big help! They help me remember things. I have a hunch you’ll find it helpful too.
The acronym is R.I.C.E.
R - Rest Most often when you’re experiencing joint pain, inflammation is the cause. So taking some time off to just let yourself rest will allow the inflammation to settle down, which will in turn result in less pain. It’s absolutely okay and necessary to give your body a break to help the natural healing process! So don’t feel guilty for skipping a few workouts to let your body recoup, it all contributes to the bigger picture.
I - Ice Icing your joints will not only numb your pain, it’ll decrease any swelling and inflammation in as well. You can use an ice pack, a baggie filled with ice, or even a frozen bag of vegetables. Whatever way you find easiest. Just keep in mind you should only ice for 15-20 minutes at a time throughout the day.
C- Compression Believe it or not, wrapping a brace or Ace wrap around the joint can help decrease the pain. Compression will help decrease swelling and will also help to minimize movement slightly, which can reduce pain and prevent more inflammation from flaring up. So if you’re one of those people who can’t resists moving the painful area (you know who you are), brace it up!
E- Elevation The ‘E’ stands for elevation. When doing this, you need to elevate the joint above your heart. For instance, if your ankle is bothering you, then you should lay down and prop your foot up on pillows so it’s higher than your heart. By elevating the joint, any inflammation, swelling, or fluid will flow out of it, thus decreasing the pain.
Then of course, you have your NSAIDs, the over-the-counter medicine such as anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. I try to make these a last resort, but if you need them, stick to ibuprofen/Advil, naproxen/Aleve, and acetaminophen/Tylenol.
Only take these as needed. If you use them regularly, they can cause stomach and liver issues. And please, always consult your doctor to make sure there are no drug interactions between these and any other medicine you may be taking. If your pain is severe and the simple home remedies aren’t working, definitely make an appointment to see your doctor!
These are all insights I keep top of mind with every personal training client. If you’d like to connect with me and learn how to beat your fat loss plateau, just send me a message in the contact form below.
Even if you have a general question, I’d love to hear from you!
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