In short, the worst thing you can do is not to move for two weeks at all after that initial workout pain. It is the continuation of this fitness plan that will bring you the results.
Acute injuries that cause intense pain need a different kind of treatment. And there is a simple formula to it, which is best remembered using a convenient acronym — RICE.
Rest: A torn muscle, ligament, tendon or bone needs rest to heal. Leave it alone. Unlike with muscle soreness, it is inadvisable that you keep moving your injury the day after it has happened.
Ice: One of my clients swears by it. After a workout, when she experiences pain, she fills up her bath one-quarter full with water and ice cubes, and relaxes for 10 to 15 minutes in it. Do the same after an acute injury when swelling occurs.
Compression: When an injury occurs, white blood cells and fluids rush to the injured site, causing swelling. This is a mechanism, not only to start the healing process, but also to make the injured site immobile. An elastic bandage can help to prevent or reduce excessive swelling.
There is another form of compression that I would like to mention here. Some of you suffer from arthritis and other forms of pains, and your doctor prescribes swimming. Besides improving joint mobility during water exercises, water acts like compression on your body. Hence, being emerged in water might ease your aches and pains.
Elevation: To help reduce swelling, elevate the injured site so it remains 12 inches above the heart. Use common sense when doing this, to avoid further pain.
On a side note, if you are diagnosed with Raynaud's, diabetes, sensitivity to cold, or any medical condition with reduced blood flow to the arms or legs, please go and see your health care provider for both minor and more serious injuries.
Now, you will be thinking: "But how about heat?" Heat is used for chronic conditions. Head pads stimulate blood flow to the injured area. It is interesting to note, as well, that our immune system works most efficiently in a warm climate.
But, of course, the best way to deal with post-workout pain is to minimize the chances of experiencing it in the first place.
The biggest mistake you can do is to be eager to get started on a program that you were used to, maybe 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Have the patience to allow yourself to build up to that level again. Most injuries will happen when you don't follow a thought-out periodization program.
Go online to find advice, or hire a personal trainer to help you get started on your workout routine again. As a client's doctor once said to me, "A personal trainer is the best health insurance your money can buy."
Stefan Aschan is a leading expert on lifestyle, health and fitness, who has helped more then 30,000 people get fit through advice on nutrition, fitness and lifestyle changes. To listen to Stefan's free one-hour seminar, "How to have ten times more success, stay on top of your goals, and accomplish the change of body and appearance," visit http://www.strength123.com.