Weightlifting is a great way to build up your muscles, improve your fitness, and enhance your physical performance. But unless you really know what you’re doing, sometimes weightlifting exercises are accompanied with pain and injuries. Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid weightlifting injuries, if you follow the correct procedures.
According to a study published in April 2010 at The American Journal of Sports Medicine, It was found that a million Americans had severe weightlifting injuries which needed to be checked by specialists.
Actually weightlifting done correctly is not dangerous. The most dangerous thing is that some people don’t know how they should train. Some people think that weightlifting exercises should be done as follows:
– Go to the gym
– Train harder and longer
– Lift heavier weights, higher volumes, and move your muscles faster till you get tired
– Then go home, and come back the next day.
While some elements of this are right, this doesn’t take into account how important it is to carry out the proper precautions, to train in the best state and of course, risk being injured. Weightlifting injuries are dangerous. They may cause several problems that may take several weeks or months before you can get better and able to train again. For example, vertebral column and spinal cord injuries can cause severe back pain.
Here, in this article we are going to help you be confident that you are training safely and successfully. Next we’ll look at the most common weightlifting injuries:
1- Shoulder impingement syndrome
This is a common case which arises from exercises that mainly depend on the repetitive movements of shoulder muscles, since they cause an inflammation to the tendons of muscles around the rotator cuff. It has the following symptoms:
– Pain at the front of your shoulder. Sometimes it extends to the side of your upper arm.
– Pain significantly arises when you raise your hands. In severe cases, you may be in pain while you’re lying down.
– If pain affects the elbow, that indicates another problem.
Do you think you have shoulder impingement syndrome?
If you suspect an issue, you need to see a doctor so as to be diagnosed properly using clinical exams such as Scapula Reposition Test (SRT), and then he or she will help you get better.
2- Pinched nerve
A pinched nerve arises from severe contraction that accompanies repetitive motion of the arms. Repetitive motion causes compression or pressure on the nerves present between tendons, ligaments, and bones. Pinched nerve differs from shoulder impingement syndrome since it causes pain that extends to the elbow, hand, wrist and fingers.
3- Rotator cuff tear
This is the most common injury of weightlifting exercises. It occurs when you lift more heavy weights than you should. The rotator cuff controls the movement and strength of the arms. As a result, tearing will cause severe pain at the shoulder immediately after the injury, pain worsens at night, and you may not be able to move your arms out or to the side till you get medical help. Sometimes surgery is required to fix this injury.
4- Patellar Tendonitis
Actually this injury is more related to sports that involve frequent running or jumping. However, it can result from improper weightlifting techniques also, which involve the overuse of the legs.
Patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). Patellar tendons are mainly responsible for helping muscles extend the legs using the knees. As a result, once you have patellar tendonitis, you will have pain at kneecap. Pain may worsen and interfere with daily activities, and you may not be able to rise from a chair.
5- Herniated disc
This mainly results from lifting heavy weights that require higher stability of the back bone. The cushions or discs that present between the vertebrae of the backbone are mainly responsible for the mechanical movement, and stability. Herniated disk refers to tearing or slip out of cushions of their places, which causes pressure on the spinal cord at certain points, and nerves inflammation. According to the affected nerves, symptoms of the herniated disk vary and may include:
– Muscle weakness
– Pain in legs or arms
Answer the following questions to see the extent of a herniated disc.
- Do you lose control of your bowel? Or bladder?
- Do you feel numbness or tingling in certain parts of your body?
- Are you unable, or having difficulty in standing or walking?
If you say no, fortunately you have a mild herniated disk that can be easily treated.
If you yes, please see your doctor.
6- Back sprains and strains
Some exercises depend on the back muscles. As a result, training for a long time significantly can cause the tearing of these muscles, and inflammation of the tendon and ligaments, and lead to severe pain.
Follow these tips to train safely and successfully
1. Warm up your muscles before exercise so as to avoid sprains and strains.
2. Check the loads before you lift so as to make sure that you can lift them. That will help you avoid tearing.
3. Make sure that the loads are packed properly so as to avoid injuries.
4. Ice packs and hot water can be used as anti-inflammatory agents. Use them as follows:
At the first 24 hours after the injury, place ice backs above the injured organ.
After 24 hours, use hot water.
5. Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids since they act as anti-inflammatory agents.
6. If you feel pain during the exercise, please stop it immediately, and take a break so as to give your muscles the chance to heal.
7. Gently move the injured organ so as to avoid stiffness.
8. If you still have pain, don’t train till you get better.
9. If pain worsens, see a doctor.
Exercises should be avoided during shoulder injuries
If you think you have shoulder impingement syndrome or pinched nerve, please avoid the following exercises till you get better:
1. Shoulder presses
2. Bench presses
3. Overhead press
4. Lateral raise
5. Anterior raise
You should also strengthen your back muscles, arms and wrists so as to decrease stress on your shoulders’ muscles.
These exercises should be avoided at all till you get better
1. Any exercise includes weightlifting with the legs.
3. Hack squats.
Rotator cuff tear
Exercises that include shoulder stretches can help prevent tearing of the rotator cuff.
Co-author and researcher – Pharmacology expert – Ezat Mohammed El-Dkak
This article is NOT intended to be used as medical advice.
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