Weight Lifting Injuries: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Exercises
Weight lifting is a common form of exercise which many people perform to get stronger, increase their muscle mass, improve fitness, and lose weight. Weightlifting has been known to not only allow individuals to physically be in shape and esthetically look better, but it is good for mental health as well. However, just like any activity, there are some associated risks with weight lifting that this blog will summarize along with ways to prevent them.
Weight lifting involves lifting, pushing, and pulling of resistance to target specific muscles in our body. Some lifts involve a single joint movement (i.e. Bicep curls) and some involve multi-joint movements 0r compound exercises (i.e. Squats). What is most important about weight lifting is making sure the exercises are performed with proper form. Most common injuries in weight lifting occur when weights are repetitively lifted with incorrect form and put unnecessary forces through the joints and soft tissue.
What are the Common Injuries Experienced with Weight Lifting?
Some of the most common injuries from weight lifting involve the three main areas of the body. They include shoulder injuries, lower back injuries and knee injuries.
Shoulder Injuries caused by Weight Lifting
Shoulder injuries are very common when various shoulder exercises are performed with incorrect form. The most common shoulder injury is an impingement syndrome. This injury is an inflammation of the rotator cuff or bicep tendon that is caused by improper technique used during overhead lifting exercises such as bench press and shoulder press. You can also get strain and sprain of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that control the shoulder joint.
Lower Back Injuries caused by Weight Lifting
The low back is the area of the body that is most commonly injured from weight lifting. Low back injuries that occur can range from minor sprain and strain to a disc herniation. Exercises that involve the low back such as squats and deadlifts require proper technique and load to perform due to the amount of forces that goes through the back. A low back injury such as disc herniation can cause signification amount of pain and functional disability, which may take months to recover.
Knee Injuries caused by Weight Lifting
Another part of the body that is commonly injured is the knee. Knee injuries can occur when exercises like lunges, squats, jumps, and knee extensions are performed incorrectly. Knee injuries that can develop include patellar tendinosis, sprain/strain, and meniscus irritation/tear.
How can a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist Help with Weight Lifting Injuries?
Chiropractors and Physiotherapists at Rebalance Sports Medicine can easily recognize signs and symptoms of weight lifting related injuries through detailed history taking and physical examination. Our Chiropractors and Physiotherapists have the ability to not only treat the injuries that have been resulted from weight lifting, but they can also find out what caused the injuries to begin with. Whether the injury is improper form, weak core stabilizing muscles, muscle imbalances, etc., therapists at Rebalance can find out what the issues are and develop an individualized treatment plan to correct them. They not only focus on treating the pain and injuries, but they also emphasize getting their patients back to their activities as soon as possible and educating them to prevent future injuries.
What are some Good Stretches for a Weight Lifter to Perform?
Stretching should be an important part of everyone’s weight lifting session. Prior to any workout it is important to do 5 minutes of light cardio and mobility exercises as it gets your blood flowing to the muscles and warms up the joints. This can include dynamic (move in-and-out) stretches. Following a weight lifting workout, it is important to take 10-20 min to stretch your worked muscle groups. This will ensure the muscle will become strong but not short. Post-workout stretches should be held for 30 seconds at a time and repeated on both sides of the body. Some of the more basic stretching that can be done pre and post workout are:
- Joint rotations: While standing up, try to rotate the joints in the body one at a time in their full ranges of motion to warm up the muscles and the joints. This is important to do especially during the warm-up.
- Quadriceps Stretch
- Hamstring Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch (i.e. figure 4)
- Back Stretch (i.e. knees to chest)
- Chest Stretch
- Shoulder Stretch
What are some Strengthening Exercises I can do to Prevent Weight Lifting Injuries?
The most common strengthening exercises that should be performed to prevent weight lifting injuries include core stabilization exercises and glute exercises.
Core Stabilization Exercise to Prevent Weight Lifting Injuries
- Bird dog
- Dead bug
- Plank (front and side)
- Single leg deadlift
- Abdominal breathing throughout the weight lifting session.
Glute Exercises to Prevent Weight Lifting Injuries
- Hip hike
- Glute bridge
- Lateral leg raise
- Monster walk
- Body-weight Squat
Weight lifting is an excellent activity to get in shape, become stronger, and keep your mind and body healthy. However, with any activity, anyone who is new to it should get guidance from a certified trainer or health professional to develop good form and techniques. Most importantly, to prevent injury in weight lifting you must focus on developing proper technique early, breathing properly and progressing gradually to higher weight levels. If you are suffering from a weight lifting injury, please contact us to see one of our experienced chiropractors or physiotherapists.
Rebalance Sports Medicine is a multidisciplinary clinic in downtown Toronto offering physiotherapy, chiropractic, registered massage therapy, sports medicine, naturopathy, Pilates and more.