One of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not you should rest when dealing with an injury. The answer depends on a variety of factors. However, there are a few general guidelines you can apply to pain and injuries to determine what the best plan of action is.
- Pain: Pain is a great indicator of whether or not you should rest. If it hurts to get out of bed or walk, don’t further exert yourself through physical activity. You will either make it worse or end up hurting another part of your body.
- Swelling: The swelling of any body part indicates an injury has occurred. Icing will usually take care of most swelling. However, if swelling and pain persists for more than 48 hours, you should see a medical professional.
- 48 hours: If your pain is consistent for 48 hours or more, it is a good idea to be seen by a primary care physician, athletic trainer or physical therapist. It’s better to treat the injury before it becomes a chronic issue. Failing to do so increases your risk for long-term injuries.
- RICE: Rest, ice, compression, elevation is a common treatment principle for most injuries. When pain presents itself, RICE is a great starting point to see if the pain is something you can work through or if it is something that needs to be looked at by a medical professional.
- Stretch: If you feel pain during physical activity and it is not going away, take a break for a few minutes and stretch. If the pain is reduced, you may continue. If the pain hasn’t reduced, discontinue the activity and RICE for 48 hours. See a medical professional if the pain persists after RICE.
- Change it up: Sometimes, during physical activity, you develop soreness which sometimes turns into pain. By switching up your activities and training intensity, you can help alleviate that pain or soreness.
Training through pain does not make a warrior. The “No Pain No Gain” expression is just that: an expression. Pain is a great guide that helps you keep your body in check.