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Should I Be Exercising When In Pain?


I get asked variations of these questions on a near-daily basis…

When can I start running again?

Is it safe for me to go back to the gym now?

If it hurts should I rest it?


And the answer is, as always, not a totally straightforward one, as it rather depends upon what exactly is causing you pain or discomfort.


However, there are some general principles to apply:

If there was a specific moment where you felt a sudden onset of pain whilst doing a certain exercise (ie your back “went” while doing weighted squats), then avoid doing this exercise until you’ve spoken to your health professional.


If you have general low back pain and this is putting you off getting into any kind of exercise, speak to a Personal Trainer or your Osteopath, as very often light exercise and a mix of cardio and resistance are exactly what your body needs.


Generally speaking, moving little and often is most helpful during acute episodes of back pain – you don’t want to go on bed rest for a week when a few short walks and pottering about the house would actually be incredibly helpful.


If you have sprained ligaments and there is swelling and bruising, then it is advisable to reduce weight-bearing stress but to start on some gentle movements that your Osteopath can show you.


If you’re afraid to go and see someone about your pain because you’re worried they’re going to tell you to stop all your favourite exercises, you may be pleasantly surprised! Often it’s a simple case of gently easing into an exercise or slightly modifying it to suit your needs.


If you tell your Osteopath that a type of exercise is important to you, then they will listen and do their very best to accommodate their recommendations to allow you to keep doing what you love!

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This post was written by Dr Anna Brown.

You can find out more about Anna here or book an appointment here.

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