One of the most occurring problems faced by muscle builders and athletes that strength train is joint pain. You and everyone you know at the gym at one time has commented and remarked on how your (knee, shoulder, elbow) is in pain. Complaints like these can be found at any given time in any gym around the world, and unfortunately, this joint pain causes your muscle building to be less efficient.
Fortunately, most of the time joint pain can be attributed to several simple things. More often than not, bodybuilders are in pain working out because of one of the following:
· They rarely warm up adequately
· They perform muscle building workouts for too long and/or too frequent
· They’re training with weights that are too heavy.
· They don’t allow enough time for their joints, tendons, muscle, etc to rest.
· They don’t use the proper technique when lifting weights.
· They don’t consume all the proper vitamins and nutrients their body requires.
· Or, all of the above.
Pain that comes in goes in a knee, elbow, or someplace else is not a sign of a serious problem – every person experiences that, strength trainer or not. We’re referring to chronic pain – pain that lasts for days, weeks, and possibly even months without interruption. In addition, we’re referring to pain that is not caused by one of the above strength training mistakes, but something much more serious.
Bodybuilder/Muscle Building Joint Problems:
There are a variety of different problems that inflict athletes, as well as non-athletes, in the joints. The most common types of joint pain afflictions include tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis.
Tendinitis – Tendonitis is the most common and the most treatable cause of pain that affects bodybuilders and weight trainers. However, if left untreated as a bodybuilder tries to gain muscle while “working through the pain” can cause a real, long-lasting problem. It can quickly put an end to all strength training programs for the next several months. Athletes experience tendonitis when the tendon around the joint has become inflamed from an overuse or injury.
Related: tendonitis causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention.
Arthritis -- While there are many kinds of arthritis, the two main ones include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Out of these two, osteoarthritis is by leaps and bounds the most common to those that undergo weight lifting and strength training exercises.
Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints, classified by the deterioration of the cartilage that is located at the ends of the bones. This smooth cartilage turns rough, which causes more friction and pain as you lift weights. If untreated, this pain can immobilize you. In fact, many athletes careers have been ended by cases of chronic osteoarthritis.
Bursitis – Located within our joints are located small, fluid filled sacks known as bursae. The bursae acts as an assistant to the movement of muscles and joints by cushioning them against friction. These sacks have the ability to become inflamed and injured due to a variety of reasons (training mistakes listed above) and a chronic pain can occur, also called “bursitis.” Bursitis is most commonly found in the shoulder or elbow, as known as tennis elbow.
Tendonitis Treatment Methods
Tendonitis treatment is a process of resting and rebuilding the affected area. With the proper care to the area, tendonitis pain should lessen within a 3 week period. But more time is needed before the tendon fully recovers. While the pain may lessen within 3 weeks, the tendon needs at least 6 weeks to form the scar tissue needed to fully repair the affected area.
Scar tissue will continue to form in the affected area long after 6 week period. In severe tendonitis cases, scar tissue will be forming for up to 1 year after treatment commenced.
The key to successful tendonitis treatment is patience. In almost 90% of recurring tendonitis cases the individual did not give the tendon sufficient time to recover before returning to the activity that caused the pain initially. If you do not give the tendon enough time to recover tendonitis will return, it's a simple as that.
Below you will find our steps for tendonitis treatment. You will find more specific area treatments by selecting a body part from the list on the left. If you follow the advice mentioned above and the tendonitis pain persists we advise you to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Tendonitis treatment - self help steps
- Stop the activity that caused the pain
The first step to proper tendonitis treatment is to stop all activities associated with the affected area.
- Rest the affected area for at least 3 weeks
Rest is the most important part of tendonitis treatment. In most cases the tendon will be able to completely heal itself with enough rest.
- If possible, brace the area
If possible we recommend you brace the affected area. This could mean a wrist brace (wrist), arm sling (shoulder), knee brace (knee), etc. Bracing the area protects it against further inflammation and strain.
- Apply anti-inflammatory medication to the area
Anti-inflammatory medication can help to relieve tendonitis pain and dilate the blood vessels. This allows for relief of the pain, without causing any stiffening of the tissue.
- After 3 weeks, re-evaluate the situation
How is the pain feeling after 3 weeks? If the pain has not subsided, rest for another 3 weeks. If the area is feeling better you can begin further rehabilitation.
- Apply light resistance, movement and stretching
Apply slow and controlled movement to the affected area. If no pain is felt, you may use very light weights. After movement some gentle stretching can be applied. Repeat these light movement exercises for a minimum of 3 weeks.
- Start light exercise
By now your tendon should be ready for some light exercises.
- Ease back into activity
Your tendon should now be ready to start regular activity again. Make sure your properly warm up and stretch your tendon before you begin exercising.
If you follow the tendonitis treatment steps mentioned above and your tendonitis pain does not subside you should consult your doctor of physician as soon as possible. Some further treatment methods may need to be used.
Support braces are often used in tendonitis treatment and prevention. The role of the brace is to support the affected area by limiting movement and supporting the tendon. Many tendonitis sufferers use braces as part of rehabilitation of joints. Common braces include knee, wrist, ankle, elbow, neck and heel.
Braces are designed to be used in conjunction with rest and rehabilitation of the tendon. If you feel tendonitis pain, simply applying a brace will not fix the problem. You should follow the steps mentioned above.
Massage therapy is becoming a very popular way to ease the pain of tendonits and aid the tendons in recovery. If possible, choose a masseuse that has qualifications or experience with tendonitis. Be sure to inform the masseuse of your condition before commencing your massage.
Ultrasound is used by doctors and physicians to break down scar tissue around the tendon. Ultrasound uses sound waves that vibrate at a very high level to increase circulation and soften the affected area. Ultrasound can also be used as phonophoresis to help topical pain and nutrient solutions reach further down into the tissues.