Muscle Injury: Should You Stop Exercising?

If you have a muscle injury, getting advice from a doctor or physical therapist is critical to coming back from an injury.  But, stopping all exercise may not be the recommended solution.  For issues such as shoulder strain, C. David Geier, MD, director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston explains that impingement is usually the cause of the pain.  It occurs when the space between your rotator cuff muscles and the bone on top of your shoulder narrows, pinching the tendons. Arthritis and bursitis can also cause shoulder pain.

You should avoid…repetitive overhead exercises, such as overhead presses or lifts with free weights, as well as pastimes that require similar movements. "Activities like gardening and painting, which inherently don't cause any damage, could flare up the pain if done for hours," says Dr. Geier.

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In an issue of Prevention Magazine, Katy Bowman, MS, director of Restorative Exercise Institute, offers  recommendations for exercise swaps that may be helpful:

If you have access to a gym, the Stepmill is less taxing on joints, but is still a good cardio workout.  You can adjust the speed of the stairs’ rotation.  Small movement gluteus lifting exercises help build the hamstring which can strengthen knee and hip joints.

The BOSU (half-moon inflatable disc) strengthens the small connective muscles at your knees by standing barefoot atop of it.  Engage small lifting of each foot to strengthen these muscles.

Walking with ski poles in-hand is a great way to boost cardio, build shoulder muscles.  Utilizing poles while walking engages core and upper body muscles more than walking without them.

Lunging in a wobble pad allows you to strengthen your quads, creating stability in your knee.  Watch your form and make sure your knee tracks over your foot, and not beyond.  If you feel any pain, stop immediately.

Many people find aqua-exercise to be impact-free providing perfect rehab opportunities for injured joints.  It’s a surprising cardio burn.

Strengthening the muscles surrounding an injury can create stability for the injury, and allow the joint or muscle the opportunity to heal.



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