Pain and Lesion Prevention
Before doing any physical activity we should stretch and warm up our body. This performance is known as muscle conditioning, which involves activating the body's organism with muscle-joint movements that aim to prepare the body for strong workouts as well as to prevent injury and pain before, during and after training sessions and / or sporting events.
How to prevent muscle and joint pains?
Experts recommend stretching before a workout to prevent muscle soreness. However, investigations have shown that stretching prematurely does little to prevent pain or injury. It is best to warm up muscles before exercise, and afterwards stretch once they are already warmed up.
One of the best ways to prevent muscle pain is easing the course of the exercise routine, starting with light exercise and gradually increasing the intensity, reducing the likelihood of small injuries. According to Goldfarb PhD, FACSM, professor and exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina USA is advisable to increase the level of effort by 10% at a time.
If you have a medical condition or are unsure about your health, consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help you find an exercise program that is safe and effective for you.
With regard to joint pain, the best thing you can do is exercise, as this strengthens the muscles that support the joint. However, it is not recommended to exercise to the point where it hurts.
It can also help to work with a physiotherapist to advise you on how to exercise safely and how to maintain good posture to avoid injuries and joint pains.
What is the purpose of warming up before exercise?
When resting, the blood flow to the muscles is relatively low and small vessels are closed. With activity, blood flow increases as vessels are opened and prepare the muscles for the work they will perform.
Because energy production increases when doing any physical activity, this elevates muscle temperature which improves coordination and decreases the likelihood of injury.
Body warm-up should be initiated with movements of the large muscle groups to produce a greater blood-flow, so as to activate specific muscle groups afterwards.
Additionally, it is also recommended to perform stretching exercises for different muscle groups. The last stage of the warm-up should address the specific technical movements of each sport.
Warm-up exercises must always be performed before training and sporting events. They are the reliable factors for the prevention of injuries and pains, as they assist to carry out superior sports performance.
After training or competition, it is imperative to perform cooling-down exercises to gradually return to the resting position and relax the muscles, so they can be ready for the next session.
Treatments for injuries and pains
There are several alternatives to prevent pain even after you have finish practicing a sport that has left you feeling fatigued and /or even with pains:
Consider muscle pains as the way that your body tells you that you need a break in order for your muscles to recover.
Cold & Heat:
Applying cold to the muscle area where there is discomfort, like with ice packs, has analgesic properties that will help relieve muscle pains that have resulted after any physical activity. Followed by applying heat to relax the muscles, and then cold again to relieve pains in the affected area.
Pain Relief Products:
If solely refering only to treatments involving topical pain relief products that are applied directly to the skin to relieve the discomfort you may have, there are gels, creams, sprays and roll-on's which often contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, methyl salicylate, arnica and capsicum (which helps circulation), producing a sense of relief in the affected muscles, acting from outside-in.