While the old saying of ‘No pain, no gain’ rings true for some, in the realm of exercise, it’s not actually always true. It’s true that some discomfort flags an effective workout, but some pain isn’t worth ignoring. Whether you’re already injured, your pain is chronic or this is a first-time offender, here are four different kinds of pains you shouldn’t ignore:
Pain with swelling
As a general rule of thumb, if you experience pain alongside swelling, your injury may be a little more serious than you think. Swelling happens when the body sends inflammatory factors to the area – it’s our body’s way of healing and should usually inspire you to rest. If inflammation returns or continues with activity, you’re probably dealing with a prolonged injury to the tissue in the area.
Let’s get this straight: a sharp or stabbing pain that comes on during exercise is a red flag. These kinds of feelings aren’t normal physiological responses, so it usually means something is not functioning properly in the body system. Sharp pains felt during exercise can mean an impingement of a tendon, a tear, bone on bone contact and more. Has it only happened once? Probably nothing to worry about. If it keeps popping up, it’s important you stop what you’re doing and go see a doctor.
If you’re experiencing pain in just one place, something is probably not right. For example, if you’ve just done a full body workout and your ankle is throbbing, perhaps there’s something deeper to look into. However, if the pain doesn’t linger, there’s usually no cause for concern, so use your gut!
Pain that worsens with exercise
If you’ve been working out with a pain that is gradually getting worse as you go on, it’s probably a red flag that you should stop what you’re doing. You’re probably causing more damage or injury to the tissue, joint or area that is already injured, and working out will only make it worse. A general rule of thumb is that if your pain gets over a five (with one being no pain and 10 being extreme), you should stop exercising immediately.