When you are working out (or even just making your way through life), you’ll have tweaks here, aches there, and the typical reaction is to ignore it and hope it goes away. There’s nothing wrong with that as long is it’s not debilitating. Often, a little Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Rest (ICER) will take care of the little stuff. But, what if that discomfort lingers or starts to worsen? This is when you need to have it checked out by a medical professional. Don’t wait too long to do this, either.
While you may not like going to the doctor, going will get you the answers that you need to move forward. Here are four common outcomes from getting it diagnosed:
- It’s nothing serious and you can get back to working out or your life activities using discomfort as your guide as to how much is too much.
- It could be something that you can work around by using modified positions or ranges of motion.
- You could find out that challenging it is doing further damage and that you should avoid using it at all until it is healed.
- Resting won’t help and surgery is necessary.
Now, you may not like the sound of #3 or #4, but, if you could do more damage, you need to listen and fix it before you can return to activity.
On the flip side, there’s also a peace of mind if you find out that you aren’t doing more damage and you can continue with activity.
In example, I have arthritis in my thumbs. Exercising the joint is uncomfortable. Should I stop? Well, when I wasn’t sure what was going on, I didn’t know the answer to that. If it was carpal tunnel syndrome, continuing activity would likely make it worse. With the diagnosis of carpal-metacarpal arthritis, I knew that exercising within my discomfort (okay, pain) tolerance, would be my best chance of avoiding surgery. Getting the diagnosis allowed me to make an informed decision about how to move forward.
Aches and pains are a part of life (and getting older), but, if something is either very painful or lingers, get it diagnosed! One way or the other, you will be better off knowing what is really going on.