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Untrained professionals can lead to injuries in gyms, spas, say experts

With very few gym trainers and masseuses certified, doctors suggest tips to prevent injuries.

health Updated: Apr 15, 2019 11:45 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Untrained professionals,gyms,injuries in gyms
Training under the supervision of untrained professionals at the many mushrooming centres in the city can land you in a hospital, warn experts.(Unsplash)

Getting a massage or exercising at a gym? Training under the supervision of untrained professionals at the many mushrooming centres in the city can land you in a hospital, warn experts.

“With more and more people going to gyms and spas, there have been a spurt in exercise and massage-related injuries. I have seen an increase of up to 20% in gym and spa injuries over the last couple of years,” said Dr Deepak Chaudhary, director of sports injury, BL Kapur Hospital.

Tarun Raghav, 20, dislocated his shoulder within weeks of joining a gym in southwest Delhi’s Palam colony in November last year, where he was asked to start advanced training after five days of basic exercises.

“I started with just one plate of weights on each side. After a couple of sets, the trainer added two more plates. I could push the weight up with my left hand, but the right one bent backwards. I heard a crunching noise,” said Raghav.

In pain, he asked his trainer for advice and was told to do some stretches and continue with his training.

“I was in too much pain, so I decided to go to a doctor in the evening. The doctor told me that I had dislocated my shoulder. He fixed it and advised complete rest for a month,” he said.

Despite proper rest, he has dislocated his shoulder twice in four months after that while playing badminton.

“His first injury was so severe that he had a labrum tear, both in front and back of his shoulder joint. This is the reason for the multiple shoulder dislocations,” said Dr Chaudhary. The labrum is the cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball and socket joint of the shoulder.

Raghav underwent a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum on Monday.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Karanjeet Singh, 50, had to undergo an arthroscopic meniscus repair of the knee, following pain after a massage last week. Meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage in the knee that acts like a shock-absorber.

A week ago, she had gone for a massage because of a pain in her knee. “I do not know what the masseuse did, whether she put a lot of pressure on my knee or jerked it, I started experiencing more pain after the massage,” she said.

She did not think too much about it and went to work, where the pain became unbearable and her left knee started locking up. “I could not stand; my knee just did not bear my weight. I was rushed to a hospital emergency,” she said.

“Such injuries happen because many masseuses are not trained on when and where to apply pressure. People should only go to a masseuse recommended by people they know,” said Dr Chaudhary.

What should you do?

With very few gym trainers and masseuses certified, doctors suggest tips to prevent injuries. “While selecting a gym, go for the ones that offer sport physiotherapist consultation to check fitness and muscle health before recommending an exercise regime,” said Dr Bajaj.

“Workouts must be carefully customised for individuals keeping in mind the age, weight, body structure and muscle strength,” said Dr RK Arya, director, Sports Injury Centre.

Training based on YouTube videos is an absolute no-no. “Many yoga and fitness videos are available on the Internet but beginners need to exercise under supervision to ensure they don’t injure themselves. Women trying to lose weight after a pregnancy are more at risk of injuries because they have lax ligaments because of hormonal changes,” said Dr Arya.

To reach peak performance without injuries, it is essential to warm up and start with light exercise and increase it slowly.

“If you want to exercise for an hour, workout for 10-15 minutes for the first three days and increase it slowly to reach your goal in three weeks. This is true even for the people who are returning to the gym after a break,” said Dr Bajaj.

People with joint pains must avoid massage. “Massage is not recommended for people with early arthritis, joint pain and people with recent injuries,” said Dr Arya.

“A gentle oil massage is better than the deep tissue massage and the masseuse must not massage across the joints,” said Dr Bajaj. “A massage in general is not a problem and can help, provided it is done by professionally trained people,” he said.

Trying to shed the winter weight? Keep in mind:

-Do not start working out with the help of tutorial videos. Join a class with trained professionals

-At a gym, do not do start weight bearing exercises without a warm up.

-Do 10–15 minute workout routines for three days before slowly increasing the time to an hour over three weeks.

-Choose a gym offering consultation with a sports physiotherapist before designing a customised workout routine.

-Know your limits. Do not over-exercise.

Keep in mind when going for a massage:

-Don’t get massages if you have arthritis, joint pain or have suffered injury recently.

-Go to recommended masseuses only.

-Gentle oil massages are better than deep tissue massage.

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First Published: Apr 15, 2019 11:43 IST