Staying fit while avoiding injury

We all know how important it is to stay physically fit. The benefits of regular activity are well-documented: stronger bones, stronger muscles and a more efficient circulatory and respiratory system. People who make physical fitness a priority often enjoy an improved quality of life and a stronger immune system as well.

When making a plan to get or stay fit, be sure to take precautions against injury. If you aren’t used to a certain activity or are returning to an activity after a period of inactivity, stress injuries are a real possibility. These injuries may result in a variety of issues, including muscle strains in the neck or back as well as spine conditions such as herniated discs, sciatica and osteoarthritis.

Overuse: the most common injury

Most sports injuries are overuse injuries. Your body learns by repetition; the more you perform a physical activity, the better your muscles and tendons will be able to perform that activity. However, it takes time for the body to learn and adapt to a new routine. When people try to do too much too soon, tissues break down and overuse injuries occur.

How to avoid overuse injuries

The good news is that overuse injuries can also be the easiest injuries to avoid. Here are some steps you can take to avoid overuse injuries to your back:

  • Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine to make sure your body can handle the stresses of the activity.
  • Stretch carefully and thoroughly before and after physical activity.
  • Seek guidance from an experienced friend or instructor when learning new activities.
  • Work up to your desired level of activity gradually; for example, don’t try to run three miles if you’ve never run before.
  • Be aware of your body’s signals at all times. If you start to feel pain, stiffness or soreness, stop and give your body a chance to rest.
  • Be sure to wear the proper supportive footwear for your activity.
  • Avoid activity when you are tired, sick, overheated or in pain.

If you experience pain after your activity, it’s best to take a few days to recover before trying again. You may also want to try a modified, less-intense version of your desired workout until your body gains strength and coordination. Consult a doctor about diagnosis and treatment for an injury that persists for longer than a few days to a week.

If you have pain in your neck and back as the result of a spine condition, and your symptoms have persisted for months despite conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery uses muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a streamlined outpatient experience that is a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures.

Ask for your no-cost MRI or CT scan review* today to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.