Strength training (lifting weights) provides health benefits beyond regular exercise. It develops muscle, bone mass, and strength. It also burns calories and helps with weight management.
However, incorrect or repetitive use of weights can cause sports injuries — including a pinched nerve or nerve damage — while lifting weights.
A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve's function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness.1
The most common cause of weight lifting injuries is improper use of equipment.2
However, a person can also damage a nerve by improperly performing other types of strength training exercises or performing exercises that put joints in compromised positions.
Serious injuries such as nerve damage often occur when a weight machine is used incorrectly. Nerve damage can also occur from overuse of weights, lifting weights that are too heavy, or rushing into high intensity workouts.12
Preventing nerve damage from lifting weights
When body tissue becomes inflamed, it can trap the surrounding nerves. Pinched nerves in weightlifting are relatively common.
If left untreated, some pinched nerves can cause serious health problems.
To prevent yourself from having pinched nerves while weightlifting, follow these three simple tips2:
- Warm-up carefully with a few stretches before the start of a session.
- Take a day off in between sessions to allow your body tissue to repair itself.
- Lift within your ability. Start with lighter weights, fewer repetitions and sets, and easy workouts to avoid nerve damage from lifting weights.
Taking care of your nerves while weightlifting
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a healthier looking body and becoming fit. However, you should also consider taking it easy. “No pain, no gain” is not a good idea. If you feel pain, listen to your body and check your form to avoid nerve damage.
Lifting weights should be challenging, but you should not feel intense pain. To make sure that your nerves are well taken care of, take vitamin B-Complex every day! If you’re feeling prolonged pain and you think it’s nerve-related, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor right away.