How to Beat Them, Treat Them, & Avoid Them
This time of year, the chill in the air brings out everyone’s seasonal faves: pumpkin-spiced lattes and college football rivalries so intense they’ll have you planning your game-day outfit days in advance. In fact, many fans don’t just root for the home team — they are the home team. And they aren’t afraid to gear up and get physical.
Whether participating in a Turkey Trot 5K or throwing the pigskin with friends before Thanksgiving dinner, “weekend warriors” live for active weekends like this. No matter the action, how hard we push our bodies ultimately has lasting effects. Even a friendly game of flag football can leave you in a world of pain if your body isn’t properly prepared.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a weekend warrior as “a person who participates in a usually physically strenuous activity only on weekends or part-time.” Because activity is limited to weekends in short bursts, it can often lead to sprains and back injuries.
“It’s tempting to run an extra mile in the cooler fall weather, relive the glory days with sports friends or want to keep up with the grandkids on Thanksgiving day,” says Dr. Robert Norton. “But that one extra golf swing or ball toss can have you on the couch with an ice pack instead of sitting at the table with a full plate.”
Weekend warrior injuries often fall into five categories:
- Lumbar strains – also known as low back pain, lumbar strains happen when a muscle is injured under strain.
- Disc herniations– a more extreme injury, pain in both legs or a burning feeling may signal that there’s been a slipped or ruptured disc.
- Accidents – from tripping on shoelaces to bike-on-car accidents, weekend warriors often suffer from a lack of experience that comes with repeated training and practice.
At-Home Remedies That Work!
For most weekend warriors, the R.I.C.E method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is enough to soothe minor aches and pains. Lower back injuries also respond well to heating pads and over-the-counter pain medication.
So what’s the best way to stay in shape without limping into work on a Monday bandaged and sore?
“Keep moving!” exclaims Dr. Norton. “Simply stated — the key to avoiding injury is to keep your body active and in motion frequently. Even a few minutes a day can drastically minimize your chances of injury.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two-and-a-half hours engaged in a similar moderate activity and just over an hour of intense activity each week. That’s less than three hours of exercise in an entire week.
“Unfortunately, adults do not reach the CDC’s recommendation and we’re constantly advocating for exercise with our patients,” Dr. Norton says. “Even after an injury, it’s not too late to adopt healthy habits that can prevent worse accidents.”
- Incorporate brief exercises throughout the week
- Save the weekends for more prolonged physical activities
- Warm up with a 10-15 minute moderately paced activity
- Reduce soreness with a minimum 5-minute post-workout stretch
- Drink water to prevent dehydration, decrease recovery time, lubricate joints, and remove waste
Even when following every recommendation, the toughest weekend warriors can get knocked down. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get back up.
Our staff of dedicated medical professionals is passionate about helping our patients get back to their lives – and the Thanksgiving dinner table – as quickly as possible. Make an appointment now to create a customized treatment plan for your needs.