How You Can Manage Exercise-Related Joint and Muscle Pain

April 03, 2024

If you’re someone who is active and/or exercises, it’s important to pay attention to joint and/or muscle pain as part of a healthy regimen. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, managing pain allows you to maintain an active lifestyle and potentially prevent more serious injuries. Learn more about the steps you can take to stay healthy and active.

Joint and/or muscle pain can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which include:

  • Sprains
  • Impact injury
  • Overuse
  • Improper form
  • Underlying conditions, such as arthritis 

Some soreness after vigorous exercising may be completely normal. There are many options for you to choose from to address this pain, ranging from resting, opting for a lower impact exercise the next day, and treating the injury with elevation, ice, and/or heat. It is also important to remain aware of pain that recurs, persists, or worsens, which may warrant further intervention and medical evaluation. 

Managing Joint and Muscle Pain

Managing pain not only prevents further injury, but it also gives you the best chance to continue exercising. Some options for managing joint pain are preventive while others are actions you can take post-exercise. These are just a few:

  • Proper equipment and footwear
    Wearing properly fitted shoes that give your foot general and arch support may help your joints, muscles, and even your back withstand various movements. 
  • Do a proper warm-up and cool down
    A proper warm-up will prepare your body for activity while a proper cool down will help your muscles relax, release tension in your joints, and potentially recover.
  • Incorporate low-impact exercises
    Including exercises like cycling or swimming can be beneficial because they’re lower impact than exercises such as running or HIIT workouts. 
  • Learn about proper exercise form 
    Getting educated on proper exercise form prevents you from putting unnecessary stress on your joints and helps reduce the risk of injury. 
  • Allow for rest and recovery
    Giving your body time to rest and recover between workouts prevents overuse and gives your muscles time to repair and strengthen. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight
    Carrying extra weight can put undue stress on your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet can complement overall joint health. 
  • Try elevation, ice and/or heat therapy 
    If you’re already dealing with an injury, you can use an ice pack on the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain and/or use heat to relax muscles and improve blood flow. In appropriate situations, you can also try to keep the affected area elevated. These strategies may promote recovery. 

If you’re experiencing worsening and/or severe joint pain and/or swelling, you should seek treatment from a medical professional, especially if these symptoms are accompanied by other more concerning symptoms like fever and/or shortness of breath.   

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