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Exercising regardless of pain – why not?

Exercising regardless of pain – why not?

Exercising can become an addiction in a relatively short period of time. If there is an interruption in our workout schedule, we suffer almost physically and feel inner dissatisfaction. Maybe this is the reason why discomfort or joint pain does not restrain us from our established workout routine. 

Even when a doctor has prescribed pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs and asked us to abstain from physical activities during use. We may keep taking the medications but we also keep doing sports. We certainly feel that it is not good but we do not hesitate to think why?

“Yes, such an attitude is quite common nowadays. We feel sorry to waste our time,” confirms Andrejs Peredistijs, orthopaedist and traumatologist at the ORTO clinic. He tells us a mind-challenging parable: “Quite recently all departments of surgery employed dressing-room nurses who used to dress up the wounds of patients. The wounds would heal slowly and they would fester. Eventually physicians realized that continuous interference in the healing process prolongs it and creates complications. In the ORTO clinic, we remove the bandages from the patient’s body only once – when we remove the stitches,” says Andrejs Peredistijs.

Drugs to kill the pain

Severe injuries or surgical intervention usually will stop you, but pain or a feeling of discomfort in a joint, appeared for unknown reasons, does not seem serious enough to withhold from sports. Moreover, if we take medicine, we assume that it will heal us, and that we can jump, run or cycle while we are healing. “If we take pain killers and at the same time keep straining the painful spot, it renders the use of medicine useless,” says Andrejs Peredistijs.

The doctor reminds that pain is given as effective indicator telling us that a certain part of the body is not functioning well.

If we ignore the pain and keep exercising actively, it may have at least three negative consequences:

● the pain and the healing will persist;

● by unthinkingly caring for the painful spot, we put incorrect strain on other body parts which may start hurting, as a result;

● hypertrophic (increased) scar tissue may form in the hurting and strained spot, which may cause pain and discomfort in the long run.

How should we act?

“Insignificant tissue damage or an inflammation is not the reason to avoid movement. Reasonable movement is welcome, however, you have to listen to your body. Certainly, you should not keep exercising if that causes pain. You should let the injured spot heal,” says Andrejs Peredistijs.

Healing of the human body takes place by cell proliferation. Each cell contains genetically encoded information as to the speed of this process. “Regardless of what dietary supplement advertisements say, it is impossible to speed it up. The hurting spot may not be healed faster than Mother Nature has intended. The best thing to do is not to interfere with this process”, Andrejs Peredistijs says in conclusion.

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MTEC 2017 (eng.)