A chiropractor’s guide to safely returning to activity
Summertime is here and with restrictions lifting, many of us are returning to the gym or getting outside to enjoy the weather. Whether you’re starting a new activity or returning to an old one, the tips below from chiropractor Dr. Giancarlo Carpino will help ensure you return to activity safely and pain-free.
Get your head in the game
You may want to jump right into an activity but taking a moment to prepare, not just physically, but mentally too, is the best way to reduce the chance of injury.
“Take some time to think about the activity you’re going to be doing. Think of the way your body will have to move, if you have limited mobility or a spot that’s already sore, and pay attention to that,” says Dr. Carpino.
Once you have visualized how your body will be moving, practice that movement a few times slowly and make note of any sore spots or pain. If you don’t feel any discomfort, try speeding up the movement. This will help “shake off the rust” and get your body used to the movements you’ll need for the activity.
Warming up your muscles before you begin any activity will help reduce soreness and the chances of an injury. The Straighten Up Alberta program
consists of 12 stretches, works your entire body, and only takes 5-10 minutes! Warming up your body will help you move better, reduce the chance of injury, and ensure you’re performing at the level you want.
Soreness vs. pain
“Using your body in new ways is rewarding and exciting, but it also means you’re likely to experience new types of soreness,” says Dr. Carpino, “And while soreness is ok, pain is not.”
Be sure to take a moment to reflect on how your body feels before, during, and after the activity.
It’s normal to be a little sore after working out, and depending on your body, you may even experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is when you use your body and the next day, you’re a bit sore, but the day after, you’re really sore. This is your body adapting to the load you placed on it, and as long as it presents as soreness and not sharp pain, it’s perfectly normal.
If either during your activity or after you experience any pain that feels sharp, burning, or electric, it’s time to pause and do some gentle stretches, change how you’re engaging with the activity, or stop altogether and visit your chiropractor.
If it hurts, see a chiropractor
If you experience pain, your chiropractor can work with you to find the root cause and create a plan for recovery.
After gathering information about your injury—how it happened, when it happened, and what it feels like, your chiropractor can get to work in helping you feel better.
As musculoskeletal experts, chiropractors are specifically trained to diagnose the underlying cause, treat and recommend options to relieve pain, restore mobility and prevent reoccurrence so you can return to activity. Your chiropractor may perform a manual adjustment or a therapy to help relax the muscles and can also recommend exercises to help rehabilitation.
Armed with these tips, you’re on track for a pain-free summer—so prepare yourself, get outside, and have fun!
Dr. Carpino entered practice in December 2020 in Calgary, Alberta. When he’s not at work, you can find him walking his dog, playing flag football, or spending time with family and friends. Passionate about staying active and helping his community, Dr. Carpino takes pride in supporting his patients in healthy, pain-free living.