Muscle and joint pain include aching muscles as well as arms and legs joints, and are a common pathology that affects, sooner or (especially) later, young and aging bodybuilders.
Sore muscles and aching joints can become a real problem, I'd say a "show-stopper", if you're not able to solve it quickly.
If you're a passionate weight lifter (or fitness athlete), you must know what I mean.
You must know how frustrating it is when you suspect you injured a muscle or a joint, and you can't give 100% at the gym anymore. If you can't train giving all you have...what's the point, right?
What usually happens is that you feel some soreness "somewhere in there", so you go easy the first time. The week after you think you're ready but ouch!! Here we go again...maybe it's better to wait ten days or even a couple of weeks to be sure.
But as soon as you push hard again you realize that muscle and joint pain is still there.
Then you start to worry, you panic thinking that something is really wrong, you wonder when you'll be able to train again like old times...and in the worst case you even worry that you'll never be able to heal properly.
Usually it's not that bad, but we know that if you're a fitness passionate and care about your muscle...you tend to see injury symptoms bigger than they are.
Causes and Remedies for Muscle and Joint Pain
Muscle and joint aches can be caused by inflammation, trauma, sciatica, sport and overtraining.
Generally the pain affects knees, neck, elbows and shoulders, and the only desire that each of us has in that moment is that the pain goes away soon, and that we can finally go back to our normal daily activities.
From our point of view, as fitness guys, the causes are quite obvious:
- Wrong exercise form
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of stretching/warm up
- Going to muscle failure each time for very long periods
If you want to become scared and worried, feel free to read all the possible joint pain causes.
Wrong exercise form is the main cause of injuries in the gym. How many times I've seen people strain a muscle because of a wrong movement. Be very careful to the proper form of each exercise you do, especially when you use free weights.
They do great in terms of results, but they can also be dangerous if you make even just a small mistake. The main risk when using free weights is to pull muscles (dumbbell bench press, shoulder press, bicep curls etc.).
Lack of concentration is another common mistake in the gym. If you don't concentrate in what you're doing, you are probably going to do your exercises in the wrong form. Of course you don't risk injuries if you use light weights, but when you're trying to push hard you simply can not distract...
There's no talking with your buddies, no "spying" other people in the mirror and especially no cell phones! I don't even want to listen to my own music. When I train, there's nothing else around me.
Lack of stretching and warm up is probably the second main cause of muscle and joint pain. I have to admit, I don't think I do enough stretching and warm up.
To warm up I do one or two sets using 50% of the weights I am going to use for the real sets. That's not too bad, but I find myself kinda lazy during stretching. I need to improve in that.
In fact, I found that my post workout soreness is much easier to deal with when I stretch properly before workout. Especially when I train my back.
Overtraining is bad too, or training when you're not ready or haven't rested enough. Why? Well...you can guess the consequences if you read above: lack of concentration and poor exercise form.
When you're overtrained it becomes more difficult to train properly. Plus, you are not allowing your muscles to recover properly. If you are overtrained and you don't rest enough you may end up with chronic muscle and joint pain.
Going to muscle failure is a great way to ensure you're stimulating your muscles and "forcing" them to grow and to prepare to lift heavier weights next time. BUT, it should be done for short periods of time, otherwise you can really damage some muscles and joints.
Basically going to muscle failure means that you are forcing your muscles to lift more than they can, and sooner or later you have to give your body a rest.
It's like spending more money than you make...one day you are going to go bankrupt, you're going to crack.
Irresponsible bodybuilders are more likely to experience serious muscle and joint pain when they get older. Some can not even do sports like running or playing golf because of joint pain.
Let's take a close look to some natural remedies that can help in those unpleasant and disabling situations caused by muscle and joint pain.
An excellent pain killer is the Devil's claw (or wood spider), whose very unpleasant flavor makes it desirable for external use only.
Put a spoonful of devil's claw roots in 150ml of water and bring to a boil for ten minutes.
Filter and dip some cotton wool, and wipe the sore areas.
Another thing that should never miss in your gym bag is Arnica.
Based on caffeic acid and essential oils, it is very useful for the absorption of an hematoma.
It comes in various forms, but people usually prefer the ointment and apply it 3-4 times a day.
For muscle and joint pain, and pain in the bones, the plant of choice is called Spirea. It's defined the aspirin plant and is popularly knows as the queen of meadows.
It contains salicyc acid in such high doses that it makes it a remedy for pains of any kind..
If dries it has greater effect, therefore it better to take it in tablet form after meals until the pain is gone.
You can also take on 3 month cycles if you suffer from chronic muscle and joint pain.
So, if you haven't experienced muscle and joint pain yet please avoid the common mistakes described above. The two most important things to remember are:
- Exercise the correct form
- Avoid overtraining and go to muscle failure each time
You may feel invincible now, but one day all the consequences of an irresponsible training habit might present suddenly, and it's not going to be fun.
For me, I train hard for six weeks, I go to failure each time. But every six weeks I allow myself a full deload week, or recovery week, or rest week whatever you call it. It's a week where I use 60% of the weights I usually lift and give my body some rest. All good maintenance...
Prevent is better than cure!
What's YOUR approach?