Working out can feel fantastic. The sense of accomplishment you get from hitting your fitness goals is, for many guys, a rush to pursue. Lately, however, you’ve been feeling as though your joints are on fire every time you work out. It’s frustrating to deal with as it can ruin an otherwise killer gym session.
You’re likely to wave away this feeling as just some random pain that will go away on its own. After all, you can tough it out, right?
But, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself eventually dreading leg day (or arms day, or whenever it hurts).
While you might not want to think about it, you likely have joint inflammation. Seems odd, doesn’t it? Most of us think of joint pain as an issue just for seniors, but it can actually affect anyone — even children!
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis that gives you joint pain and swelling, and it is usually caused by overdoing your workout routine.
While I won’t deny the many benefits a good workout routine can bring, there comes a time when your body needs to take a break.
If you like to push yourself to the max, you might have ignored or overlooked repetitive movements or injuries you’ve gotten. Unfortunately, this can earn you some extreme joint pain. But you don’t have to submit to it! Just follow these seven tips to put that pain in its place.
1) DON’T IGNORE YOUR PAIN
While it might be easier to ignore pain, it’s there for a reason. Your body is trying to signal to you in the only way it can that it needs to rest. So respect its wishes! Consider the two-hour rule: if after working out, you still feel pain in your joints two or more hours later, think about cutting back on some of that exercise. That way, you can adjust your level of activity to your body’s pain threshold.
To avoid feeling any unnecessary pain at all, try to keep your joints in mind. You can protect them from stress just by making compromises in your activities. For instance, if your body has a harder time dealing with exercises while standing upright, try to find an alternative exercise that lets you work out while lying down or sitting.
2) COME UP WITH AN INFLAMMATORY-FREE DIET
You probably already have a great diet to go along with your workout routine. But you might have to modify it a bit to keep your osteoarthritis under control.
Because osteoarthritis is a condition that can cause severe joint pain and swelling, you’ll want to make sure your diet is stocked with foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These foods won’t cure your condition, but they’ll make it easier to deal with.
Go for foods that have the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Beta carotene
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Keep in mind that some foods with these nutrients may have properties that will worsen your condition, so watch out for any foods that have an excess amount of the following:
- Saturated fats
- White flour
- Omega-6 fatty acids
3) KEEP UP WITH YOUR WORKOUT; JUST DON’T OVERDO IT
While you shouldn’t ignore your pain, it doesn’t mean you have to drop your entire workout routine. Exercise is still a benefit to those with osteoarthritis! Many studies have proven that it still helps to strengthen muscles and tissues around joints. You just need to have a break now and then.
You’ll also likely want to focus on a different routine. There are three categories of exercises that are important to helping people with osteoarthritis maintain and improve their ability to move with ease. So you’ll want to consider doing the following:
- Flexibility exercises — these involve stretching, yoga, pilates, and other exercises that can enhance your joint’s ability.
- Endurance exercises — as the name suggests, doing exercises like circuit training, dancing, or hockey can boost your endurance.
- Strengthening exercises — you can increase your muscle strength, size, power, andendurance by lifting weights, cycling, or doing push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.
However, if weights put too much pressure on your joints, do low-impact exercises like swimming and biking.
Remember, if your pain flares up for too long after doing one or more of these exercises, don’t work through your pain. Listen to it, and take a rest. You can always come back to your routine at a later time.
4) WARM UP BEFORE EXERCISE AND COOL DOWN AFTER
The time you spend before and after you exercise is crucial. That time can make or break how much inflammation you experience.
For best results, practise warming up before exercising and cooling down when you’re done. Simply apply a heating pad or enter a hot tub before exercising to loosen your stiff joints. This will get them limber and raring to take on your workout. Then, once you’ve tackled your daily routine, ease some of your aches and pains with reusable cold packs.
5) ADD SOME TOOLS TO YOUR LIFE
Another way you can ease your body’s daily physical pain is by making certain activities easier. For instance, you might want to give your joints more support with braces, splints, or orthotics. You can also look for can/bottle openers and other tools that can take the brunt of any excess force you use during the week.
It may feel like you’re being weak by relying on outside tools, but keep in mind that you might not always need to rely on them. It’s just for the time being as you continue to strengthen your joints through your diet, exercise, and other means.
6) RELIEVE YOUR REMAINING PAIN WITH PRESCRIPTIONS
To take the edge off whatever pain you have left after applying these five other tips, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe you medication like duloxetine to reduce your remaining joint pain.
You might feel like avoiding this tip because of how costly prescriptions can be. But they don’t have to be a burden on you or your wallet. Instead, consider using a Canadian pharmacy referral service like Canada Med Pharmacy. This service allows you to purchase prescriptions from Canadian and other international pharmacies, which gives you access to more affordable prescriptions.
7) CONSIDER JOINT SURGERY
You’re working on all these tips, but your joints are still flaming. Now what? Now, it might be time to consider undergoing joint surgery.
If your doctor believes that you’re eligible for surgery, you’ll be able to almost entirely eradicate your pain by replacing your joint with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis.
Please note that this is considered a last resort. Undergoing this surgery may mean that you’ll forfeit your chance to enjoy high-impact activities for the rest of your life.
Osteoarthritis might throw some extra hurdles in your way, but with these seven tips in mind, you can conquer them in no time and maintain your gym routine. Just go easy on your body. Give it a diet that’ll reduce your pain. Work out (but keep your pain threshold in mind!), and don’t forget to find ways to ease your routine activities. Prescriptions can be a great help too. And if all else fails, surgery might be the next best thing for you.