There are plenty of things when you are on a weight lifting routine that can slow you down. However, one thing that puts the brakes on your workouts fast is any sort of injury or reoccurring pain.
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The pain you feel after a workout is to be expected and it is actually a sign that your weight lifting is having a positive effect on your muscles. However, situations where you might have continual pain, like the elbow can make working out more difficult with every day that passes.
What are common elbow issues when weightlifting?
Here are some of the most common causes and types of elbow pain from weight training:
- Golfer's elbow: One of the most common reasons for elbow pain as it relates to weight lifting is golfer's elbow. Don’t let the name fool you. Just because you’re not playing golf doesn’t mean you can’t suffer from this condition. Frequent up and down motions will often cause the tendons of the triceps and forearm to rub against the ulna of the elbow causing inflammation and pain.
- Tendonitis or tennis elbow: Another very common pain issue is caused by tendonitis. Better known as tennis elbow this condition is caused by pushing during exercise. This occurs when the lateral epicondyle otherwise known as the bone on the radius side of the forearm rubs against the tendons of the triceps.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is another very common cause of a sore elbow. This typically happens to people who have been weight lifting for a long time. Over time elbow joints can become stressed which can lead to pain due to joint inflammation.
Pain that is localized in the front of the elbow is generally due to over working and stressing of the bicep muscles. Pain located above the elbow typically happens as a result of focusing too much time working the triceps region.
How can I prevent a sore elbow when weight lifting?
While pain in the elbow can be a real bother when it comes to weight lifting, there are a few simple steps a person can take to help prevent this sort of pain from ever happening.
The first step is to make sure you are using proper weights when lifting. It is important to keep pushing yourself and try to avoid playing it too conservatively. However, in some cases if you are increasing the weights you lift but are unable to lift that weight properly; you might be doing more harm than good. There is a balance between pushing yourself and your body to help build muscles and strength and pushing yourself too hard and causing injuries. Find that balance.
You will also want to be mindful of having the right weight balance. This can often be resolved by using proper equipment. If your weights are not balanced correctly you could end up hurting yourself. You need to learn how to attach the weights so that they don’t shift or are uneven on the bars. If you are working out with equipment that you can’t balance, you should refrain from using that equipment until suitable replacements can be found.
What are some common treatments for a sore elbow when weight lifting?
If you are having mild discomfort that does not go away then the first approach might be to try a simple anti-inflammatory medication. This may be all you need to get over the immediate pain. However, it is not a recommended long-term treatment as the continual use of high doses of anti-inflammatories can often cause liver damage.
A simple treatment is by icing the affected area. It is by far one of the easiest treatments that you can use. By simply icing down the area where you are feeling the pain, usually in 20 to 30 minute intervals, you will notice a significant decrease in the pain you feel.
The easiest and sometimes the most effective treatment for a sore elbow is to rest. In some cases, the pain can be so bad that lifting is simply not possible. In those cases rest is a given. However, even if the pain is minor, you may want to rest a little while before you hit the gym again. Once you feel ready to get back to lifting remember to take it slowly until you are sure you are not risking re-aggravating the injury.
If all else fails, you need to see a doctor. You might just have a minor issue, but it could be more serious. If you want to continue weight lifting, it is best to make sure you are healthy enough to do so and that you are not making the pain and potential injury worse by continuing to lift.
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