Pulled muscles, stiffness, soreness, and other minor injuries can happen when we exercise. They are not uncommon and, most of the time, aren’t long-term or debilitating.

How do you know when an injury will heal by itself or when you need the skills and care of a medical doctor?

Your injury may need medical attention if:

  • The symptoms don’t go away after resting or at-home treatment
  • The injury affects your ability to continue to exercise
  • The injury is traumatic and you are unable walk or move your limbs

Most minor injuries should recover in their own time. You may need to rest the area for a day or two before resuming activity and start back slowly once you do. Pain should not persist past the initial uncomfortableness. However, if the injury is re-aggravated by resuming regular exercise you may want to consult a physical to determine the cause and potential long-term treatments.

The primary exception to this is with a traumatic injury that needs immediate medical attention.

If the injury is severe enough to affect movement, there are any broken bones, or cuts that might need stitches seek immediate medical treatment immediately at the urgent care or emergency room. Waiting to treat these types of injuries could lead to long-term disability if proper healing does not occur.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your pain level?
  • Can you move the injured limb? Can you walk?
  • Are you bleeding?

If you determine that the injury is minor, treat it at home with hot or cold therapy, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers. If the pain persists, seek medical care from a doctor immediately. If you have a chronic pain condition, you may want to seek medical attention for even minor injuries in order to prevent future pain issues or injuries.

Have you experienced an injury that prevents you from regular exercise?

Image by Peter Stevens via Flickr

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