Ouch! I Can't Believe I Did That. Again!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 18, 2009

I may have many faults – and I am happy to give you a list of people who will be delighted to detail precisely what those faults are – but one thing I do not lack is creativity and imagination when it come to hurting myself.

Over the years I have pulled muscles, strained ligaments – and credibility – cut, bashed and bruised myself in numerous ways. I’ve pulled my calf muscle running, broken my nose playing soccer (and walking into a huge plate glass window early one New Year’s day but I don’t want to talk about that), hurt my shoulder boxing, twisted my back bending down, even strained my lower back getting out of a chair. You name it I’ve done it.

Now, the only advantage to any of this is that over the years I have become very good at reading my body, knowing when I was pushing a muscle or group of muscles too hard and needed to back off. For instance in the gym just now I was doing a bench press when my right shoulder started to complain. Not loudly but just enough for me to recognize the warning signs.

A few years ago I ignored those warning signs and ended up in the Urgent Care department at my local hospital, asking for every pain killer that Rush Limbaugh hadn’t taken. Sadly they only gave me vicodin and codeine laced something or other which did nothing to ease the excruciating pain. It took a week for the pain to subside to a level where I wasn’t wincing with every movement.

That taught me to pay attention to my body. So when my shoulder started playing up this time I stopped doing the bench press and moved on to a leg exercise.

After working out I iced my shoulder. I will ice it several more times before the night is out. Ice is my friend, even if it does give me the cold shoulder (sorry, another of my faults, I can’t resist a pun)

What I’m trying to say is pay attention to your body, learn to spot the warning signs when you are doing something that is going to cause problems. Sometimes injuries just happen because you twist the wrong way at the wrong time. There’s little you can do to stop that. But sometimes your body is telling you that it’s not happy, and by recognizing those signs you can help avoid far more serious problems.

Some people – OK, men – sometimes feel that they should just push through the pain and keep on working out. And in some cases that’s fine. If you are running up and down a hill and your thighs feel like they are rubbery and your lungs are on fire that’s because the exercise is really demanding; those are normal reactions to that kind of exertion.

But if you are running and it feels as if there’s a tight lump in your thigh, that’s the time to stop running and start walking because if you keep pushing it you may really hurt yourself.

It’s frustrating I know. Sometimes when I’m playing squash my knee decides to go left when the rest of my body is going right. In the past I would always want to carry on and push through the problem because it’s so much fun playing squash. But I’ve learned that doing that gets me a few extra minutes of playing time one day, and a couple of weeks of non-playing time afterwards while my knee sorts itself out.

So. Listen to your body. It knows what its talking about.

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