There's a considerable difference between a sudden and a nagging injury
. Sudden injuries, like fractures, sprains, or torn muscles, usually come with intense pain and sudden debility. Nagging injuries are long-term, and generally involve aching and inflammation. While they may not seem as dramatic as a sudden injury, nagging injuries can definitely have a serious impact on a sufferer's physical ability and quality of life.
Many sudden injuries result in nagging problems if they are not properly treated. Ignoring a sprain or a hairline fracture, for example, can cause pain and weakness over the long term. Others are the result of overuse or repetitive stress, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The pain of a nagging injury is likely to be described as "achy" or "annoying," but some suffers may experience intense pain and weakness. Back injuries, for example, can cause significant debility when they result in referred pain to the shoulders, arms, or legs.
While there are surgical interventions that can help some types of nagging injury, most of them can be self-treated with a little basic first aid. Treating nagging injuries usually involves identifying what triggers a flare-up of pain or swelling, and responding accordingly. Applying heat and stretching before exercise can help, as can ice, compression, and elevation afterward. In some cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help ease pain and reduce swelling.
The body will naturally try to compensate for injured or painful areas by altering the way it moves. An injured hip, for example, can trigger a change in gait to avoid aggravating it. Unfortunately, this puts additional strain on other joints and causes more nagging injuries elsewhere. A gait altered to help ease the pain in one hip can result in lower back pain and injuries to the other leg. Always use proper form while exercising to avoid putting undue strain on affected areas of the body. If the affected area is a joint, wear a well-fitting joint brace to help give it additional support.
Using proper form, avoiding overexertion, and treating sudden injuries are the best ways to avoid being addled with chronic problems further on down the line. Nagging injuries are annoying and painful, but they're a fact of life for many people. By identifying what kind of conditions or activities set them off, it's possible to help limit the problems they cause by properly applying heat, ice, elevation, and compression to reduce stiffness and cut down on inflammation.