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By Stephanie Mansour
Even if exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health, there's still a risk of injury. It may be a simple pulled muscle or soreness that requires rest, while other more serious injuries can cause you to make a trip to the doctor’s office.
Christian Glaser, DO, doctor of sports medicine at MedStar Health at The St. James, and Dr. Michael C. Schwartz, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at ProHEALTH Care, both say they see a variety of exercise-induced injuries in their exam rooms every day.
The most common culprits? Shoulder and low-back injuries, says Glaser. Dr. Schwartz agrees, and also adds knee injuries to the list.
We’re breaking down these common injuries, including how to know when your injury is worth a trip to the doctor's office (and what treatment may look like) and how you can prevent them in the first place.
Schwartz says that rotator cuff injuries are among the most common workout-related injuries seen by orthopedists and sports medicine specialists. “These injuries usually occur from common training errors. Performing shoulder-related exercises too frequently without giving the muscles and tendons a chance to heal between workouts is usually the most common cause,” he says. “In addition, rather than increasing exercise gradually, working out vigorously can strain the rotator cuff causing inflammation and injury.”
Schwartz says no one is immune. “In my practice, I have seen many patients both young and old who have presented with the chief complaint of an audible ‘pop’ with acute pain and swelling in their shoulder, which resulted from lifting heavy weights particularly overhead,” he says. “MRIs in these cases often confirm the diagnosis of an acute rotator cuff tear, which requires surgery in most situations to reattach the tendon to the bone to allow healing and improvement in function.”
Glaser explains that treatment for both injuries varies on the degree and severity. Smaller tears may require anti-inflammatory medication, injections or physical therapy, while complete rotator cuff tears commonly require surgery.
To avoid shoulder and rotator cuff injuries in the first place, I advise my personal training clients to focus on proper form and avoid over-lifting with dumbbells. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
When doing a bicep curl or a tricep extension, keep the shoulder heads under the ears in proper alignment.
Avoid rounding the shoulders forward or hunching them up and keep them in a neutral, relaxed position as you perform the arm exercise.
Make sure that the weight is not too heavy and therefore pulling your shoulder out of alignment.
Always start with a lighter weight and perfect the form in upper body exercises before increasing the load.
Lower back injuries...
Source: Common workout injuries — and how to prevent them - NBC