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When does muscle soreness becomes an injury - and what to do about it
A common question to us is “How can I tell the difference between a potential injury or just muscle soreness after I exercise?" When should I seek treatment?
Post exercise muscle soreness (commonly known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - or DOMS) will settle by itself where as a muscle injury won't.
Here are a few facts about DOMS which will help you make an informed decision on whether need to seek some advice from your Physio...
• Muscle soreness or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) generally presents itself as a diffuse pain that is present within a complete muscle or muscle group.eg. the whole quad muscle.
• It particularly occurs after unfamiliar or strenuous activity and the soreness peaks at about 36 hours post exercise. So if you train on Saturday – you’ll feel bad Sunday morning and often worse Monday morning!
• It is reversible (i.e. gets better by itself)
• There may be some associated weakness and loss of range of motion which may last up to one week.
A muscle tear, on the other hand, will present as more point tenderness and is often associated with an incident when you feel the muscle “go”. It will not start to get better by itself after 36 hours and further medical attention is often needed to guide it’s recovery. You should see your Physio if this is the case.
So if I’ve got sore muscles – what do I do?
DOMS is relatively benign and there appears to be less soreness and tissue damage with repeated bouts of the unfamiliar exercise, which indicates some degree of muscle adaptation to muscle soreness with training. My advice would be to increase training gradually to avoid muscle soreness. And once you are used to your new regime, you should be ok further down the track.
The nature of exercising and trying to gain strength or fitness means that you will often feel fatigued and sore during periods of heavy training. Overloading our musculoskeletal system and allowing it to recover is how we make gains and get stronger.
The fine line is that if we don't allow adequate recovery and keep training then we get injured.
Your individual threshold for how much training load your body can handle before injury will depend upon your athletic history (how long you have been consistently training for), your biomechanics and your genetic make-up.
The longer you have been training at a consistent level the better your musculoskeletal system will have adapted to tolerating a higher training load, the better your biomechanics are the more efficient you will move and you will have a corresponding reduced risk of injury, and if you inherited good connective tissue and bone genes from your parents you will have a lower risk of injury.
Unfortunately we can't do much about who are parents are but we can control the other factors to a certain extent.
As a general rule:
- If it’s general muscle soreness from a change in training program or exercise then have a couple of days easy training or rest
- If it's a new niggle that you haven't felt before get it checked out- you don't want to miss anything nasty
- If it's an old niggle that you have been able to self manage in the past with guidance from your Physio then you are OK to continue to train eg. recurring shin splints that you have been able to settle in the past with icing, stretching and massage
- If you continue to train and it's not improving or getting worse then see your Physio
So sore muscles are mostly ok – what about sore joints?
Whilst sore muscles are part of the process of getting stronger and fitter, sore joints are not. Damage done to muscles in training trigger a process of repair where the muscle gets stronger as a result. Joint soreness is often indicative of overload in the joint tissues i.e. cartilage, tendons, ligaments, most of which are unable to repair themselves if this continues to happen.
Rest and ice are advisable to begin with and use pain as a guide to see if cross training with another sort of exercise will be ok. The problem with these sorts of injuries is that as soon as you recommence your exercise that the pain will return.
If it does return, it is time to seek the advice of a Physio before continuing.
SquareOne are experts in diagnosing injuries from exercise and making the necessary changes to allow you to return to training and achieve what you set out to achieve.
If you’d also like to reduce your injury risk and improve your performance we’d love to show you how.
Call 9968 3424 or book online www.squareonephysio.com.au to make an appointment today.
April 23, 2017 1 Comments
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- Runners Knee
- Menopause, Exercise and Physio
- Exercise during Pregnancy
- A Sports Physiotherapist turned full-time Mum
- Pilates with a Physio - Why is it better?
"Running will ruin your knees," a phrase I’m sure we have all heard. Despite what your well-meaning but potentially ill-informed neighbours, co-workers, and relatives may have told you, there's no evidence that regular running damages knees.
Whilst menopause comes with many (not so pleasant) symptoms, the great news is that you can help manage many of them with exercise.
Exercise has many benefits post menopause including maintaining and improving:
• Muscle strength
• Bone density
• Joint flexibility
• Mood and general wellbeing
There are many different types of exercise so you should choose something that you enjoy, fits in with your lifestyle and helps manage your individual symptoms.
Types of exercise:
Aerobic exercise: This type of exercise works your heart and lungs, and is also important to prevent or manage heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. This is any exercise that gets you huffing and puffing including activities such as cycling, swimming, tennis and gardening. It is important to avoid high impact activities such as running and jumping to protect your joints and pelvic floor as these are weaker post menopause.
Flexibility: Stretching and gentle respective movements increase the length of your muscles, resulting in improvement in your range of joint movement. Yoga is a great form of exercise to achieve this.
Resistance/Strength Training: This exercise uses weights, exercise bands, or body weight to help strengthen your bones and muscles whilst also improving your balance and coordination.
Functional Training (Clinical Pilates): Training your pelvic floor muscles to contract and relax as needed assists you to regain or prevent incontinence and prevent prolapse symptoms. This functional training is best done with an individualised exercise program that is designed to suit your individual needs. These exercises also enhance any strength training program and assist in flexibility or balance.
At SquareOne we use Clinical Pilates equipment to rehabilitate the function of pelvic floor muscles and deep abdominals, so that they automatically work during everyday activities. Clinical Pilates combines with a specific home exercise program will assist in achieving optimal function more quickly.
What can a Women’s Health Physiotherapist do for you menopausal symptoms?
A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can assess you individually and tailor an exercise program to address any particular issues and goals that you may have.
At Mosman Women's Health, our physiotherapists have extra training in managing older women and in particular exercise prescription for the different needs of the menopausal woman.
International guidelines all concur with the view that walking, jogging, cycling and swimming (at moderate intensity), muscle strengthening exercises (including pelvic floor exercises), water based exercise, and pregnancy-specific exercise classes are both safe and beneficial for pregnant women.
If you have never been physically active – it’s also suggested that now would be a great time to start.
We interviewed Lauren earlier this year about her experience at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast while juggling the new role of being a first time Mum.
What benefit do I get?
Here at SquareOne, our Philosophy is to not only fix your injury but send you away stronger, fitter and more resilient – in other words, less likely to injure yourself again.
Our Pilates programs help deliver our evidence based exercise programs to those who are in pain, those rehabilitating or those just wanting to move and exercise more.
When taking our clients through their programs we not only have what exercise you are going to do next front in mind we are thinking of a multitude of different things. Our knowledge of anatomy, pain science, biomechanics, load management, pathology and rehabilitation allows us to consider many different facets in developing your program.