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Exercising correctly

I keep trying to lose weight and get myself in better physical condition. It seems, though, that every time I get started on any activity, I end up with an injury. The first time this happened, I had just turned on some dance music in my living room and started doing some grapevines - nothing very strenuous. The next day, my knee hurt and after 6 months of physical therapy, minimal walking and horrible pain, I had knee surgery which revealed a torn meniscus. (Which the doctor reported was "really torn up!") After doing arm curls (with circuit machines) my elbows hurt so bad that I can't lift a book. (I know my elbows are weak, so I stick to the lowest weights.) I want to strengthen my muscles to help the problems, but I seem to hurt myself instead - every time! Anybody got any suggestions on form or anything that might help?

Tue. Apr 10, 6:36am

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Given your history of injury I would consider at least starting out with a certified personal trainer - especially for weight training where it's easy to injure yourself with improper form. You don't have to stick with them forever, just long enough to learn and absorb proper form and good habits. A sports therapist might not be a bad place to start either. Stay safe and happy lifting!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 9:34 AM

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personal trainer? YES

get yourself to a reputable personal trainer. I have been lifting for years and started using a personal trainer a few years ago after a string of injuries. As the previous poster stated you don't have to sign up for life, just a few sessions to get the basics down. I still take a lesson every now and then to have some feedback on my form.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 9:42 AM

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I'm actually thinking the symptoms/history here put it beyond a personal trainer and maybe call for a physical therapist and an MD. I have a hard time figuring how to get significant elbow pain out of an arm curl machine at 10-15 pounds (this is my interpretation of the OP's description) no matter how weak you are or what you do with the machine. Medical conditions that might cause a pattern of problems aren't that frequent, but there are some.
I'm a little bothered that they presumably went 6 months without an MRI on the knee. It would make me consider going to someone different this time, unless there was another reason (like money, or patient didn't want to pursue it more actively) why it went that way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 10:14 AM

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Are you, or were you recently, extremely overweight for a long time? Add to that, are you over 35? I only ask this because I've known a few men aged 35-45 carrying an extra 200 lbs who blew out their knees or hips as soon as they attempted exercise. I don't know enough about the combination of age, gender, weight and personal chemistry that can put you in that precarious state, but I'm just mentioning it as a possibility.

As for your elbows -- especially if they're weak, don't use the circuit machines or any of those pieces of equipment where you lay your arms over an angled pad. I'm very sensitive to hyperextension in my elbows, and these machines are very uncomfortable; plus, I've injured myself by not getting the height of the seat right. Use dumbbells or one of those cable-pulley machines for a free and natural range of motion. For the record, I'm in my mid-30s and quite healthy but I work with a personal trainer who deals mostly with older folks and those recovering from illness, and she says that she's happy to use the other circuit machines but never the bicep or tricep ones, not even for her own workouts. To me, that speaks volumes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 10:58 AM

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OP here - Thank you for your input. You've all made helpful comments.

To the 10:14 poster, regarding the knee pain, I didn't see a doctor right away. I kept thinking if I rested it, it would get better. It didn't. My family physician sent me to physical therapy for 4 months, and when that didn't make much difference, I flew back to the US to talk to a orthopedic doctor. He didn't do an MRI either, because he said, based on the length of time and degree of pain I had, he was 100% certain that surgery was necessary, so, he didn't think it was necessary to add the cost of the MRI to the bill.

And, you're right about the weights on the curl machine.

You have suggested seeing a physical therapist and an MD. Do you think an Orthopedist, or another kind of doctor? And, are you experienced in the healthcare field, or is this just a recommendation based on personal experience and/or study?

Due to my husband's work, I usually live outside of the U.S., and I have not yet been fluent in the language of any of the other countries in which we've lived. That has made both medical treatment and instruction difficult to obtain.

To the 10:58 poster - Regarding my weight history - I am quite tall, and have never been more than 30 lbs over the top of the weight range for my height. I am 48, but these problems are not really new.

I will avoid the bicep and tricep machines in the future.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 3:39 PM

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(10:41 again) I think the dr made the right call considering the events as you explained them. The MRI is useful when you don' t know what state things are in inside there, and it doesn't seem to be healing. When the dr knows, or is going to put the scope in anyway, no need for an expensive test. Just wanted to note that for whoever else may find this thread.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 4:41 PM

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