When it comes to muscle soreness, there is pain that is tolerable and that you can work through, and then there is pain that you need to sit up and listen to.
Not recognizing the differences between these two situations is extremely problematic because there are some injuries that, if continually aggravated, could prove to require an extended recovery time.
Learning the difference, and especially knowing which more common pains you need to be on guard for, will help to ensure that you can maintain your workouts and stay injury free.
Please keep in mind that while these are common scenarios, this is by no means aimed to be a replacement for proper medical advice. If you are having problems and are unsure about what’s going on, never second-guess paying a visit to a doctor to get the pain looked at.
Here are the eight body pains you mustn't ignore:
1. Sudden Head or Neck Pain
If you experience a sudden painful feeling in your head, especially when squatting with heavy weight, stop immediately and have a look at your form. This body pain you mustn't ignore could be a result of a blood vessel being overloaded due to pressure, or a seizing muscle that is having difficulty dealing with the stress of the weight you’re lifting.
If you are one of the many men lifting incredibly heavy weights when performing your squats, be sure to look forward and concentrate on keeping your shoulders and neck muscles loose. If you aren’t, they may be taking some of the force of the weight, which could eventually lead to a serious strain in this area of the body.
2. Extreme Groin-Area Tenderness
Again, if you’re performing heavy squats, deadlifts or lunges (which can be particularly bad for this) and you get a very tight, sudden pain in the groin area, it’s time to stop and take note as this is a definite body pain you mustn't ignore. This could range from a simple muscle cramp or a muscle pull, depending on the severity of the injury.
If you try to perform the same action once again (move down into a lunge, for example), and the pain still occurs, only with less severity, this is a strong signal that you’ve really pulled your inner thigh muscle.
While some muscular soreness is to be expected when performing a hard weight-lifting session, this type of tightness — almost cramp-like — is a signal that something is really hurt and you need to back off before you do more damage. If this is the scenario, stop with that lift and move on, only performing exercises that don't hurt for the remainder of the workout. Be sure to stretch that area as much as possible immediately following the workout. If you can, apply ice to help take down any swelling that may have occurred.
Give it about four days to a week to heal, and then proceed with your usual lifting schedule once again.
3. Sharp Back Pain
While you should always be paying attention to any type of back pain you experience as this can become a chronic condition, when the pain is sharp and direct, stop immediately as this is one of the ultimate body pains you mustn't ignore. Sharp pain is usually a very good sign that something is wrong, and this could range from a slipped disc to a pinched nerve.
If you've been performing a great deal of lifts that require you to bring the weight overhead (such as snatches, military presses, etc.), then you are constantly loading the vertebra with a lot of excess weight.
All it takes, on your part, is one slight adjustment to your stance for a vertebra to move out of alignment, which could also lead to pain throughout the body, depending on which vertebra is dislocated.
Try to get yourself to a medical professional as soon as possible so you can asses just how much damage you did, and get the issue corrected before lifting once again. It’s important not to attempt any more lifting whatsoever while you have this issue because your spine is the base of all movements. When something is problematic with your spine you could risk injuring yourself further if you load any part of your body with weight.
4. Ankle Pain While Running
Many runners are extremely dedicated to their sport and are used to experiencing pain at some point or another during their workouts. Any time you try to force your body to run the types of distances some runners do, you are bound to wind up with some aches and pains.
Unfortunately, this also means that runners have become very accustomed to pushing through this pain and forcing themselves to keep going, despite some of their injuries being body pains they mustn't ignore.
When you’re running and you experience the type of pain in your ankle that makes your foot want to give out upon impact, it’s time to listen up and stop. This could be a sign of a sprained ankle or a strained ligament, and if it's not looked after, you could be facing weeks away from your training.
The ankle joint is loaded with a variety of ligaments and tendons, so it’s not that extraordinary for something to occur with just one off-balanced step. Having a proper pair of running shoes and trying to run on only level surfaces will go a long way toward preventing ankle pain from happening, but it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk. If you are going to run, learn to pay attention to your body and know when enough is enough.
5. Extreme Levels of Hunger
For many men, getting their ideal body is a high priority in life. Whether they are actively tossing the idea of competing in a body-building competition around in their minds or they simply want to show off what their hard work and dedication in the gym has done, they will push themselves to extremes in order to achieve their goals.
Once the muscles have been built, this means turning to the diet aspect of things and taking control of the food you put in your mouth. If you are quite serious about your diet and have been restricting yourself for a month or more (while also approaching sub-10% body fat levels), it’s important to really listen to your body.
At times, after a period of very strict dieting, the body’s hormonal balance can get shifted around and you will experience intense hunger that just doesn't seem to go away, regardless of what you eat. At this point, it’s a clear sign that your body is trying to tell you something, and you should take a week or two off your diet before continuing. This is more than likely the hormone leptin acting in the body, which serves to regulate your body fat stores.
Bring your calories back up, then proceed with the diet regime. Not only will your body thank you for the much-needed break, but you’ll also likely find that, once the break is over, fat loss will get ramped up once again because your metabolism is in full working order.
6. Feeling Light-Headed
Another body pain you mustn't ignore when performing your workout is light-headedness.
This most frequently occurs after you’ve done an exercise where you are partially bent over and then rise back up into the standing position again. While some light-headedness is expected in some individuals — if it’s an ongoing issue for you — it would be smart to have your blood pressure checked out as this is indicative of low blood pressure.
While many need to watch their blood pressure to ensure it doesn’t get too high, for you it may be too low and you could risk fainting during your workout. Considering the danger that could be at stake if you felt dizzy while holding a weight overhead, you can see why it is essential to pay attention to this particular body pain.
One thing you may want to consider doing is making sure you are consuming enough salt in your diet. While you don’t want to go to the other extreme and start salting everything in sight, not worrying quite so much about your salt intake (if you are presently trying really hard to avoid it) may actually be a good thing.
So long as you are healthy and don’t have pre-existing health concerns, a slightly higher salt intake for very active individuals can be beneficial, since they will lose salt while they are sweating.
Keep in mind that this is not to be taken as a medical prognosis, and if you are experiencing this issue quite often, it’s really best to seek professional medical advice to be sure nothing more serious is at stake.
7. Relentless Shin Pain
Shin splints are another common running injury that can be quite persistent over time and are a result of continual pounding on the tibia bone. While some shin pain may just be due to overuse and can be remedied with a few days off, if you’re suffering from shin splints, you'll require a more in-depth recovery process.
If you are experiencing some shin pain, take note of how long it’s been going on and exactly where it’s located. If it’s been two weeks or more, book yourself an appointment with a sports doctor to have it looked at.
If the problem gets worse without help, you could eventually wind up with a stress fracture.
8. Ongoing Fatigue
Finally, the last type kind of body pain you mustn't ignore is fatigue that just doesn't seem to pass. You get more sleep; you try adjusting your diet; you take a few days off; you're doing everything you can think of to make yourself feel better, but nothing works. This could be a sign that you are severely overtrained.
Many men are accustomed to pushing through pain and fatigue, so it’s quite easy to overdo it when it comes to your workout volume and regime.
If you find that you are becoming less motivated for other aspects of your life that you used to enjoy, aside from your workouts, this is a sign you could be overtraining. Likewise, if it’s been a while since you've taken a thorough break from the gym and you haven’t seen much progress in the last little while, this is a sign that it’s time for a break.
Depending on the severity, overtraining can take anywhere from two weeks to many months to fully recover from, so catching this body pain you mustn't ignore sooner rather than later is highly beneficial to you and your recovery.
Pain Pain Go Away
Be sure not to overlook these body pains you mustn't ignore when you’re in the gym. Having a high threshold for pain can be a good thing when you are really trying to push yourself, but if you aren’t aware of which pains are going to really damage you, you could be setting yourself up for big problems at the end of the day.
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