If you’re experiencing joint pain or discomfort, you’re far from alone. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands.
If you’ve ever had joint pain I think you would agree that it can have a huge effect on your quality of life. When it hurts to move, you simply don’t want to move.
To avoid and prevent joint pain, we must first know what can cause joint pain.
The 5 most common causes of joint pain for gym goers
Many overuse injuries result from doing too much exercise too soon. But overuse injuries also occur with experienced exercisers who don’t give themselves time to rest and recover. When you workout, you are breaking down your body. If you do not recover properly or allow adequate time for muscle recovery it can lead to excessive amounts of wear and tear on your body and eventually joint pain. This is because your tendons and joints will have to work harder due to the fatigued and broken down state of your muscles from not being fully recovered. This is why giving your body what it needs post workout is essential to your results and overall health.
In today’s society, there is no avoiding it! We all have it. But when you’re overly stressed, your immune system can’t control its response to inflammation as effectively. As inflammation builds inside of your body it can lead to many health issues. One of which is joint pain and discomfort.
Your joints are surrounded by muscles to create movement and accomplish anything from brushing your teeth to squatting a heavy load. These muscles work together to create a fluid and proper movement. Joint pain can happen when certain muscles are dominating the relationship around the join, often due to working one muscle harder than the opposite muscle (example: hamstring vs. quads). These leads to poor movement patterns and over compensation, creating extra stress on your joints.
As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common because changes in cartilage and connective tissues leave the joint less resilient and more susceptible to damage. Additionally, joints become stiffer because the connective tissue within ligaments and tendons becomes more rigid and brittle. This change also limits the range of motion of joints.
There are many different medical conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, bursitis, gout, lupus, and more. If you think you have a medical condition that is leading to joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort, contact your primary care physician.
Now that we know the most common causes of joint pain it leads to a very important question… How do you prevent joint pain while working out?
4 Ways To Prevent Joint Pain
- Proper Warm-up and Cool Down. Invest the time to run your body through a proper warm-up and cool-down as part of every workout. Making sure to properly warm up your joints and increase the range of motion will help eliminate stiffness and prevent injury. By taking the time to cool down with stretching after exercise you can help ensure that you don’t have overly tight muscles pulling on the joint, causing discomfort.
- Well-Balanced Workout Routine. One of the best ways to prevent muscle imbalances is to have a balanced approach to your training. Training your body from head to toe. An easy way to make sure you are on the right track is to put an emphasis on compound movements and avoiding excessive amounts of isolation movements.
- Reducing inflammation. This should be done through your nutrition plan and proper supplementation. Having leafy green vegetables and superfoods that are high in antioxidants, as well as a diet rich in Omega-3s, will help reduce inflammation throughout your body and joints. This reduction in inflammation will lead to a reduction in joint pain, as well as improve cardiovascular health, better gut health, and even help with brain function!
- Adequate amounts of rest and recovery. The amount of rest everyone needs will vary. This is because many factors like age, sleep patterns, stress levels, how you train, how hard you train, etc. come into play. But a few telltale signs that you might need to take more time to recover would be feeling fatigued, your body aching, and of course… joint pain!
Whether you’ve experienced joint pain for a brief moment or a long time… I think we can all agree that it’s no fun at all. When we experience joint pain it makes it hard to perform daily tasks, let alone get a great workout in! But the good news is, now knowing the common causes of joint pain for the avid gym goer like yourself … you can work to prevent it from happening in the first place. As always, if you have any questions or need any help, please let us know! You can email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 1(800)409-9732 from 6am-9pm CST Monday thru Friday!
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer