Exercise After Injury

“No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to post-injury exercise.

Having an injury can be frustrating to fitness enthusiasts, but it does not mean you have to abandon all physical activities. There are ways to ensure safe participation in exercise following an Electrolyte Supplementsinjury, or while still battling with certain aches and pains without making matters worse, according to Alicia Hirscht, DPT, SCS, CSCS, director of physical therapy at ONS Stamford.

Whole Body Health

Following your physical therapist’s home exercise program or consulting with your physician is a vital first step to proceed in the right direction.  “It’s most important for you to start very slowly. Pay close attention to how your body and pain levels respond to the increased physical exertion. This will be your indicator of whether you need to scale back for a while, keep at your current exercise level, or increase you activity,” said Hirscht.  For example, if you have mild pain at the beginning of a run that goes away within 1-2 minutes, it’s probably okay to continue. However, if the pain worsens over time, or does not go away with rest, you are not ready to perform that exercise.  It is equally important to follow a modified conditioning program of strengthening exercises and stretches that promote whole-body health.

Knee, Shoulder, Back Exercise Advice

“Someone with chronic knee issues should be careful with high impact and weight bearing activities like running and contact sports. Biking, walking, and swimming are safer options,” said Hirscht, who recommends knee patients follow to a lower extremity strengthening and stretching program that targets the core and lower body. “Building up the core and lower extremities will help ease the stress on the joint and stabilize the knee.”

People with shoulder issues should be careful with overhead activities, such as racket sports and freestyle swimming, she said.  Opt instead for a strengthening program that emphasizes the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles, combined with a stretching program to open the chest and shoulder muscles.

With back pain, there’s a good chance your core muscles are weak (abdominals, back muscles, hips and hamstrings). “Swimming is an excellent activity to strengthen your back and maintain cardiovascular fitness,” Hirscht said. “Exercises that focus on the core and safely engaging multiple muscles, like planks, are extremely beneficial for the back, too.”

All in Good Time

Regaining your previous level of fitness after pain or injury can be discouraging because  healing does take time. “It helps to remember how far you’ve come rather than how much farther you have to go,” said Hirscht. “Taking a smart and steady approach that allows for one day of rest between outings, a nutritious diet, proper sleep, and stress management will all help you get better faster and back to doing the things you most enjoy,” she said.

ONS Physiatrist, Christopher Sahler, MD presents “Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain”

Christopher Sahler, MD
Christopher Sahler, MD

Christopher Sahler, MD of ONS and Greenwich Hospital, is an interventional physiatrist specializing in sports medicine. His focus is non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, restoring proper function, reducing pain and promoting active lifestyles.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, you are not alone. It is estimated that 100 million Americans are currently living with chronic pain. The pain may make it difficult just to get out of bed or do household chores, let alone be active and exercise. Studies have shown this inactivity can actually cause you to experience a worsened level of pain and for a longer period of time. Exercise actually improves your pain threshold. Even simple exercises such as walking can provide some benefit.

Join Dr. Sahler as he presents his first health Seminar “Exercise as Treatment for Chronic Pain” at Greenwich Hospital. Come learn how staying active and performing exercise may help treat an array of chronic pain conditions.

When: December 2nd, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Noble Auditorium at Greenwich Hospital

The program is free and open to the public. Registration Requested.
Call (203) 863-4277 or register online at www.greenhosp.org.

Get in the know! ONS Physician Dr. Gloria Cohen discusses Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

What is it? How do you get it? How do you treat it?

What exactly is Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness?
DOMS, as it is also known, is the sensation of Cohenpain, soreness, and stiffness in exercised muscles after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. This can occur from several hours to three days post exercise. Though the actual mechanism is not completely understood, Dr. Cohen says “studies suggest that symptoms develop as a result of microscopic damage to the muscle fibers involved in certain exercises, particularly in muscle cell membranes and the bands that connect muscle cells”.

After a workout, your body automatically begins the process of repairing the damage to muscle fibers causing low-grade pain. The saying “no pain, no gain” is actually accurate because although your overall fitness is improving, you will experience aches and pains along the way. Certain types of movement or exercise, known as eccentric muscle contractions where the muscle lengthens as it contracts, can cause low-grade pain. According to Dr. Cohen, an example of this is what happens as the quadriceps or thigh muscle engages while walking or running downhill.

NYRC Dash-SplashCan DOMS be prevented?? Dr. Cohen suggests “when starting a new exercise program, it is advisable to gradually increase the intensity of the program.” In other words, don’t overdo it! She also cautions, “beware of overstretching which can also result in sore muscles, especially if you haven’t warmed up adequately before exercising”. If these precautions don’t help, there are treatment approaches. “Increasing blood flow to the muscle and immersion in cool or icy water has shown to be effective in some studies”. According to Dr. Cohen, who also suggests refraining from the activity if symptoms occur, “if pain increases and becomes more severe- if there is swelling of the limb- or if you notice your urine color darken- seek medical attention. Muscle breakdown can put excess stress on the kidneys. When in doubt, see your doctor.”