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The expression “no pain, no gain” is one that I’m sure most people have heard in reference to exercising. It is a motto that is supposed to help motivate an individual through a strenuous workout.

However, what if that pain is associated with an injury? It is important to recognize the difference between the burning sensation which you may feel during an exercise or the muscle soreness you get after a strenuous workout and the pain that you feel as a result of a wound.

What causes the burning sensation you feel while doing an exercise and soreness that you feel after a workout? In a nut shell, the discomfort is caused by lactic acid. As you do a specific exercise, lactic acid builds around the muscle(s) involved causing a burning sensation. Your muscles begin to fatigue as the lactic acid interacts with the calcium in your body. This is what results in your inability to complete any more repetitions. When you feel sore the next day after working out, this is known as a delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which will continue until the lactic acid is removed (naturally) from your muscles. Sometimes this takes a few days.

Ok, so being sore after a workout is one thing and usually after a day or two, the soreness dissipates and all is well again. Pain from an injury though is different. The pain is much more intense and if you continue doing exercises that involve the part of the body that is injured, it won’t just go away and ultimately it will get worse.

My shoulder is still giving me grief two weeks after injuring it. How did I hurt it? I don’t really know but it is not the first time that this has happened. I am no doctor or physical therapist so I can definitely not diagnose what is wrong. All I know is that I need to give it a break from any exercise that involves using it. This is not easy for me but I am hoping it won’t take too long to heal. I have been doing lots of reading up on shoulder injuries on the internet and getting advice from friends so this has been helpful and I have learned more than I ever thought I would ever know about the muscles in the shoulder.

What should you do when you are injured?

For many years, and one that I have always followed, the R.I.C.E method has been recommended:

R. Rest – As difficult as this is for an athlete, resting the injury is key. This of course does not mean you have to lie in bed all day. I have continued working out each day by doing exercises that don’t involve my shoulder. Lot’s of legs and core!

I. Ice – Apply ice with an ice pack or a bag filled with ice cubes to the injury. This along with taking anti-inflammatories such as Aleve or ibuprofen is used to reduce pain and inflammation of injured tissues.

C. Compression – Wrap the injury in a bandage to limit and reduce swelling. If you feel throbbing, remove and re-wrap the area a bit looser.

E. Elevation – Raise the injury above the level of your heart. For example, if you have injured your ankle, lying with your foot propped up on a couple of pillows will help to control swelling.

So, I have been following the above method for my shoulder injury but I come to learn from more recent claims that the use of ice and anti-inflammatories may not be the best thing for recovering from an injury and that they may actually hinder it.

Current research now states that the M.C.E. method should be used:

M. Move safely when you can as much as you can.

C. Compression

E. Elevation

This article goes into more details on the recent claims.

In my own opinion, I believe in the R.I.C.E. method. This has worked for me in the past so I continue to use it. I do keep my shoulder moving however and I have begun doing a few physio exercises to help with recovery. I am not feeling any pain while doing these movements so I am hoping they will help to speed up the healing process.

One last note: I was one of the unlucky people who contracted the Chikengunya virus while we were in Grenada. Although I felt fine after just a few days, I have learned from others who also came down with it that there is lasting effects. Some of our friends are still suffering after having it months ago! Could this be effecting my recovery from the shoulder injury? I don’t know but I am not letting it stop me!


Morning workout on the bow. I’ve been doing a lot more bodyweight exercises


Mike joins me every morning now!

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