Skip to main content

Ouch! Is Playing Through the Pain Okay?

Aug 02, 2017 02:00PM, Published by Becca Newell, Categories: The Look, Today



By Becca Newell

Sore muscles are something most of us experience when we first start up a gym routine or after a particularly intense exercise session. A little post-workout aching is to be expected—and perfectly normal. But when does pain indicate something more significant? What if you’re injured? How important is it to rest? Is medical attention always required?

To help navigate the often confusing path of pain, we turned to local medical professionals for their advice.


The Body’s Ability to Self-Heal



The body is well-equipped in its ability to recognize an injury and repair itself. Upon sensing an injury, the body’s immune system sends cells to help clean up the damage and kill any foreign cells, like bacteria, says Executive Vice-President Kamran A. Saraf, M.D., of Kure Pain Management in Annapolis. Those cells also help to rebuild the injury with healthy tissue.

The length of the healing process—between two months to a year—differs depending on the type of injury. And, Saraf adds, there are some parts of the body, like the heart and brain that cannot be rebuilt.



The Three Phases of Healing



Acute/Inflammatory Phase:

Occurs up to 72 hours after injury • Represented by swelling, redness, inflammation, and warmth around the injured area • May result in loss of function or limited movements • Rest, gentle movements, and physical therapy recommended

Sub-Acute/Reparative Phase:

Lasts for up to six weeks after injury • The “repair” stage, represented by the new growth of scar tissue to reconstruct damage and decrease inflammation • The new connective tissue is fragile; too much stress can prolong recovery

Remodeling Phase:

The newly formed tissue is now relatively strong and can withstand stress; mobility work is crucial to restore proper function of healing tissue • Expect elasticity to be limited; end ranges of motion may result in pain or restriction • The length of this phase varies depending on the injury and one’s healing potential


Exercising in Pain



Experiencing a tightness or soreness while exercising isn’t exactly normal, but it’s not an immediate cause for concern. “Mild pain during exercise may just mean you are not performing the exercise properly and an expert should be sought out to teach proper technique,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Benjamin Petre, M.D., of Anne Arundel Medical Group Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists in Odenton.

Similarly, muscle aches and pains after a workout are to be expected, particularly if it’s a new exercise regimen. DOMS—which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness—is a common post-workout occurrence that causes discomfort in muscles as the body adapts to the added stress. “[The soreness is] similar to how you would feel the day after you hit the slopes for the first time of the year,” says Lead Physical Therapist Dr. Katherine Rainey, of Advanced Rehab Center in Annapolis. “The best thing to do is keep moving and stretch.”

However, if you feel a sharp or stabbing pain during light to moderate exercise, you should stop immediately and consult with your doctor.

“Pain is typically a signal from your body telling you something is wrong,” Chiropractor Dr. Joseph Kling, of Effective Integrative Healthcare in Crofton.

The same is true for pain that causes significant joint swelling or bruising, or pain that lasts for several days. Continuing to exercise through any of these indications of an injury could elongate the healing process or prevent the injured body part from healing at all.

“The normal rehabilitation process after injury will cause discomfort, but it should not be excruciatingly painful,” says Saraf. “In this situation, ‘no pain, no gain’ does not apply!”


Exercising After an Injury



Continuing to exercise after the treatment of a mild sprain or strain is often approved by medical professionals.

“For example, a Grade 1 ankle sprain can be taped properly and the player can be allowed to return to their sport right then,” says Petre.

It’s still important though to avoid stressing the affected tissue since—depending on the severity of the sprain—it could prolong recovery. Additionally, it’s important to heat or ice the sprain. Heat should be used for tightness, soreness, and aching; ice is for swelling and sharper pains, according to Kling.

“Ice constricts blood vessels and helps to reduce swelling and inflammation,” he says. “The heat dilates the blood vessels which helps to loosen the soft tissue.”

Even fitness fanatics suffering from a more severe injury will most likely gain approval for a specific set of exercises.

“A lot of injuries can be managed without having to completely stop exercising,” says Kling.

Petre gives an example of a broken leg that prohibits someone from walking.

“I will still allow them to swim laps—with a pull buoy and without pushing off the wall during turns—to [maintain] a cardiovascular workout and upper body strength,” he explains.

Similarly, recent research has suggested that mobilizing the joints and muscles following an injury is key to the healing process. “[It] maintains good oxygenation of the tissue,” says Rainey.

It’s important, however, to seek advice from a physical therapist as to what movements are safe and beneficial.

“The extent of the injury, location, and tissues involved will determine what physical exercises are safe to continue,” Rainey adds. “When acutely injured the goal is to steer clear of specific movements that will aggravate the injured tissue and delay the healing response.”

In addition to preventing further tissue damage and inevitably restoring tissue strength, physical therapy will also help to prevent atrophy and weakness of muscles.


Exercises for Back Pain



As we age, our back muscles become weaker, which inevitably increases the incidence of injuries in that area.

“Low back pain is one of the most common injuries of this day and age,” says Rainey, who recommends regular exercise to prevent pain. “Making sure you lead an active lifestyle … will greatly mitigate your risk of having low back pain.”

The main focus of exercise should be core stability and flexibility, focusing on the abdomen and back muscles that support the lumbar spine. Other areas that deserve attention include hip mobility and glute strength.

“Strengthening them will give the spine more support,” says Saraf.

Seeking guidance from a physical therapist or personal trainer is important—incorrect form is a major culprit of back pain, as is poor posture, and can greatly increase the risk of an injury.

The Myth of Broken Toe



We’re all familiar with the theory that nothing can be done for a broken toe, but that’s far from reality.

“If not treated correctly, serious complications may develop,” says Rainey.

It is true, however, that some toes are more important than others—while the big toe often requires treatment, fixing the fourth and fifth toes often relies on a little tape, according to Petre.

Since the big toe bears the brunt of our weight, a walking boot may be required if a fracture is present. The smaller toes, if fractured, can be immobilized through taping. A splint or cast may be required to ensure immobilization and, in some cases, the broken bone may necessitate pinning to heal properly. Additionally, impact cardio, like running, or exercises that cause the toes to flex should be avoided.

“The tissue can’t heal if it is constantly moving around,” says Kling. “Modifying exercises, like stable resistance exercise or biking, can be done as long as it is not aggravating the toe.”

Still, medical attention should be sought in any situation where fractured or broken toes are suspected, especially if there is significant sign of deformity, such as the toe pointing in the wrong direction.

“Our toes are one of the most used and abused parts of our body,” says Saraf. “If they are not properly fixed, the broken bone may fuse the wrong way and may cause lifelong pain. It is definitely not something to ignore.”

Stay up to date on the latest health, fashion & beauty, and fitness related trends by signing up for our weekly newsletters.



fitness exercise what's up? healthy living recovery August Annapolis 2017 August Eastern Shore 2017


  • Raspberry and Strawberry seasons have begun! Come pick your own at Linvilla Orchards!  General H...


  • David Rogers' Big Bugs at Tyler Arboretum

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 06:00PM

    Exhibit opening day: June 3, 9 am - 6 pm Exhibit continues until August 29 They’re BIG, they’...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • Join the fun and learn what the "RAVE" is about. Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a week...


  • Kids can cook! One week cooking camp!

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the fun and learn what the "RAVE" is about. Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a week...


  • Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a weeklong cooking camp from 9am-noon for children ages ...


  • Emily's Produce Farmer's Market

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy local farm fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, eggs & more! Enjoy a homemade lunch or b...


  • Two Paths

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Galleries of Quiet Waters Park will host an exhibition featuring the watercolors and drawings...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • ‘En Blanc et Noir’

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    As beautiful as a color-laden photo can be, there is something to be said about removing the dist...


  • Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Opening in conjunction with the 30th annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival, Log Canoe Racing: Ph...


  • Summer Group Show

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Our Summer Group Show includes a large variety of styles & media with work by new artists & Galle...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • Babies in Bloom

    08/21/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Babies from birth to 18 month (with caring adult) enjoy songs, action rhymes and playtime while b...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution—a brand new exhibit—will challenge what visitors think they...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • Backyard Birds & Birdhouses

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Opening reception May 20 in conjunction with the Delmarvalous Festival The beauty of nature is j...


  • Revival

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary in 2017, Revival presents contemporary sculptors and ph...


  • Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces tells the remarkable history of th...


  • River Arts Photo Club Show

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Recent works of the local photographers.


  • Ken Karlic Exhibit

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Meet the Artist: Ken Karlic Enjoy a live Painting Demonstration! Live guitar music by Tim ...


  • Creepy Crawlers Preschool Gardening

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 11:15AM

    Hands-on environmental education for our youngest crowd!  Creepy Crawler gardening classes are op...


  • In the Tower: Theaster Gates

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Over the past decade, American artist Theaster Gates (b. 1973) has explored the built environment...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • June Schwarcz: Invention and Variation

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    June Schwarcz (1918–2015) is considered one of the most innovative enamelists working in the late...


  • President John F. Kennedy’s administration coincided with a golden age of photojournalism in Amer...


  • Weekly Fine Art Classes

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Chesapeake Fine Art Studio offers top-quality art classes in a variety of media every week. Study...


  • Plein Air Judges, Unite Exhibit

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Troika Gallery will exhibit the paintings of two Plein Air Judges, West Fraser and Kenn Backhaus,...


  • Under One Sky

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    In this joint exhibit, Carol Donahue and Gail Higginbotham, reveal their artistic similarities an...


  • Matthais Mansen: Configurations

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Matthias Mansen is a contemporary Berlin-based artist (b. 1958) whose work advances the long trad...


  • Nicolas Party: Sunrise, Sunset

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Sunrises and sunsets are among the only moments in the day when we are reminded, as the sun appea...


  • Representational Ambiguity

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Ken Karlic's watercolors can best be described as sophisticated chaos, as an accurate drawing giv...


  • Equilibrium: Fanny Sanin

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This exhibition explores her methodical process through a selection of some the artist’s earliest...


  • Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    One of China’s most provocative living artists, Ai Weiwei has spent nearly four decades exploring...


  • Parallax Gap

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Parallax Gap transforms the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon into a visual puzzle....


  • Retrievers: The Hunter’s Best Friend

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    The Retriever in its many breeds–Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake, Flat Coated, and more–have been th...


  • "Ken Karlic: Watercolor Expressions" Show

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    In honor of the 27th Annual Art Walk McBride Gallery is hosting a watercolor painting exhibition,...


  • The Academy Art Museum is pleased to present its Annual Members’ Exhibition. This exceptional tra...


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 12:45PM

    A period dressed guide in colonial attire will lead you through Annapolis’ historic district and ...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • DISCOVER ANNAPOLIS TOURS

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 03:00PM

    Join us on a trolley tour to explore the back streets, marinas, and points of interest in Annapol...


  • Preschool Storytime

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Children ages three to five (with caring adult) build the early literacy skills needed for school...


  • New York Artists' Guild

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Exhibition will be held in the Studio Gallery.


  • Harbor Queen Cruises

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Watermark immerses people in the history, culture and fun of the Chesapeake Bay region and Harbor...


  • Eighth Annual Crab Week

    08/21/2017
    12:00PM

    Let’s get crackin’! Join Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina for the resort’...


  • Open Portrait Studio

    08/21/2017
    01:00PM — 03:30PM

    Mondays, 9:30 a.m. - noon The group meets weekly with a live model. Model fee collected weekly....


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    08/21/2017
    01:30PM — 03:45PM

    A period dressed guide in colonial attire will lead you through Annapolis’ historic district and ...


  • Schooner Woodwind Solar Eclipse Viewing Cruise

    08/21/2017
    01:30PM — 03:30AM

    Sail away and watch the event being called the “Great American Eclipse”. While we are not in the ...


  • PAWS TO READ

    08/21/2017
    03:30PM

    Practice your reading by reading to a visiting therapy dog! Please call the library to book a 15-...


  • Spa Creek Tour on Miss Anne

    08/21/2017
    03:30PM — 08:30PM

    This 40 minute Annapolis boat tour is for those who want to get close to the water on a smaller, ...


  • Phillips Early Bird Special

    08/21/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    Catch the early bird each day at Phillips for special savings on our buffet and menu dining at Ph...


  • Chicken & Rib Night

    08/21/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Get a free draft beer and special sauces only available Monday nights! Smoked Fried Chicken: ...


  • Girls’ Woodshop Program

    08/21/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. is hosting an evening Girls’ Woodshop pro...


  • Yoga en Español

    08/21/2017
    05:45PM — 06:30PM

    Yoga en Español Práctica Suave . Mujeres Sólo Todos los Lunes 5:45pm - 6:30pm Precio: $10 9...


  • Book Club

    08/21/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    We will be discussing A Man Called Ove by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. This feel-good story ab...


  • Waxahatchee

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Mer...


  • August Wine Dinner

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Summer dishes paired with prophecy wine! Welcoming wine: Pinot Grigio First Course: Mexican shr...


  • Mainstay Monday

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for another Mainstay Monday! These eclectic evenings happen every Monday night. Each is h...


  • Come out to Camden Yards to cheer on your favorite Baltimore Orioles as they play the Oakland Ath...


  • Come to Prince George's Stadium to cheer on the Bowie Baysox as they play the Reading Fightin Phils!


  • Join host Norm Amorose every Monday at the Market Street Public House at 7:30 p.m. for a fun-fill...


  • Brett Dennen

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM

    That notion is at the heart of Por Favor, Dennen's intimate and revealing new album that Elektra ...


  • Federal House Bar & Grille Acoustic Shows!

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM — 12:00AM

    Tuesday, August 1st - Jordan Sokel - Acoustic Solo Wednesday, August 2nd - Kajun Kelley - Acoust...


  • Lunes Latino

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    Every Monday night, guests can enjoy live Latin music to salsa dance to. Want to learn? Come e...


  • Every Monday night at Stan and Joe's on West Street in Annapolis join Kevin "The Hurricane" Lebli...


  • Timmie Metz

    08/21/2017
    10:00PM — 01:00AM

    Enjoy music from Timmie Metz every Monday at 10 p.m.


 

 

Towne Social