"How Do I Handle Joint Pain vs Muscle Pain When I Workout"?

There have been many classes I have taught over the years where I hear a mom comment something like, "I have pain in my knees when I squat but I am overweight, so it's just my punishment and I need to push through it", This is a misconception we need to address before more moms injure themselves further. There is a difference in exercise between joint pain and muscle pain or fatigue. When do we listen and when do we push through?

First of all, pain is a really good indicator. Pain helps us make decisions that can result in our safety. Imagine if you didn't feel pain when placing your hand on a hot stove? Pain can be our friend in these situations! Pain also can help by keeping us mindful of our movement patterns. Those of you with a history of back pain, for example, can probably relate to those times when pain was present and you squatted down in perfect form with your abdominals engaged to stave away further pain, right? Your pain was your guide.

So, when do we listen to it and back off, and when do we push through it? Acute, or chronic, pain is usually indicative of an injury and should be addressed with your physician. This type of pain is usually felt in specific parts of your body and is present in everyday movement. Often times we find these in the joints of your body. For example:

  • You may feel pain in your knees when you bend down to pick up your baby.
  • You feel pain in your low back when you swing your leg to get out of bed or the car.
  • Pregnant or newly postnatal moms, you feel pain in your pelvis in an exercise where you step side to side.

This is acute pain and could be representing an injury. Let this pain be your guide to seek medical advice. When this pain arises in your workouts, let your FIT4MOM instructor know and she will give you modifications to help your movement patterns serve you.

What about muscle pain? Again, when it is acute, or in a specific place, this is your signal to stop what you are doing and seek your physician’s advice. If it is an overall fatigue, it could mean that you are taxing your musculature in a way that could increase your strength, and a little push could lead to increasing your fitness level.

Listen to Your Body. It's important for you to do an internal inventory of your body as you are working out. Ask yourself, "Is this uncomfortable and I fear injury? Or is this uncomfortable because I am working a little harder than I am used to"? The first needs to be listened to and taken care of...the second, if sustained in a healthy way, could propel you into another level of fitness in the long run!

*When participating in any fitness program, first seek your physician's approval. For information on finding a FIT4MOM class, visit #FridayFitnesswithFarel