MInor niggles and ailments that may prevent exercise.
17th June 2015
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When taking regular exercise we are all prone to pains and minor ailments that may not prevent us from taking part but never the less can be annoying and debilitating whilst we have them.  I have listed a few of the most common ailments, that may be useful to know about, and some I do get asked about.  Where possible I have given reasons for the pain and possible ways to ease the pain or eradicate completely.  

Cramp - This is a common pain and can affect us all. However doctors or scientists still do not know the definite reason for cramp.  The pain starts when a muscle goes into a spasm and cannot relax, and can last from a few seconds up to approx 15 minutes at a time. I know when I have had cramp it is usually at night and can be agonising at times. Sometimes in my calf in particular, or across the toes, and nothing seems to stop it.  The 3 major factors of cramp are Fatigue, lack of hydration and the general condition of the body.  However, neither doctors, nor scientists are sure how much influence each of these areas have on cramp.  The immediate treatment for muscle cramp is to stretch and massage the area.  If the pain is more severe you can use ice packs and drinks lots of water and/or sports drinks. For cramp in the leg, you should grab the muscle and pull back on the toes with the other hand. Point the toes upwards to help relieve the spasm.  As the definite reason for cramp is not known there is no one way to avoid it, however always do a proper warm up before vigorous exercise, keep fit, drink plenty of fluid and eat a nutritious diet. 

Stitch – This is more common in long distance running but I have had clients in my classes suffer from this at times too. The medical profession believe stitch is caused when there is a reduction of the blood supply to the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the stomach and abdomen for the heart and lungs, and this causes it to cramp. The stitch is then caused by fluids the body then finds hard to digest. The pain is normally a sharp pain in the upper part of the abdomen which gets worse when we breathe.  The next bit is quite interesting as no one seems to know why these treatments work normally do.  Next time you suffer from the stitch, give these a try. Stop running, moving and touch your toes, if the pain continues press the area firmly with your fingers which should help to relieve the pain. You can also run off stitch but it may take a few minutes for it to work. Again try to warm up correctly before exercise and try to avoid eating too near to your workout.  Ideally, eat a healthy meal about 2 to 3 hours before you begin. 

Tight hamstrings – This is something I do suffer from, from time to time.  Some people are more prone to it than others, partially due to genetics, but they are many reasons why you can have tight hamstrings.  Sitting for long periods of time, back problems, tension and also lack of core strength, when the legs take on the role of trying to control the trunk of the body, are all reason why you may suffer from tight hamstrings.  After going for a sports massage last year I realised how tight hamstrings can affect other parts of your body too and increase the risk of injury.  If you are prone to this condition your lower back pain can increase and can cause knee injuries.  It is so important to stretch correctly, but do not force a stretch, as the body will react and force a reflex which could cause further tension or tightness. It is better to work into a stretch and gradually build up mobility.  If you would like some stretches to help with this pain, if you think you may have tight hamstrings, please feel free to see me in class and I can go through some for you.

Shin Splints – As a young girl I suffered with shin splints on several occasions and this preventing me from exercising for about 6 weeks each time.  It is more common in people who play or take part in a lot of sports.  This injury occurs when the muscles at the front of the leg become inflamed or get injured, and radiates at the front of the leg, and be painful to touch. This could be due to working out or playing sports too often on hard surfaces, a weakness in your leg muscles, a poor running technique, or even because you have flat feet or high arches.  My son had a bad instance of this during his teenage years when he sprinted at a high level.  He had his feet and legs looked at and they discovered the pain was due to flat feet.  He then had special inserts added to his spikes which improved the pain, and enabled him to continue running.  The treatment for shin splints generally is rest but this does not always remedy it. Adding ice to the area followed by heat may also help with the pain.  If the pain is so severe you are not able to carry out normal daily tasks it is advisable to see the doctor who may suggest visiting a physiotherapist or foot specialist.  I always state in class the most important part of fitness clothing is supportive sports bra (for ladies) and the correct foot wear.  So often clients complain of pain in the shin area, which is the start of shin splints. If you exercise frequently try to change your trainers every 3 months, and ensure the support is correct at the bottom of the shoe for the type of exercise you are doing.  For example if you are doing a more vigorous type of exercise which involves jumping and bouncing on the floor, you would need a shoe with a more solid support and able to withstand pounding, as a shock absorber would on a car. 

Hopefully you found this blog useful.  If you would like to contact me for any reason please feel free via my website or email.
Bev xx
www.feelgoodwithbev.weebly.com

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