Soreness vs. Pain

There have been many observations made and questions asked about having a physical therapy clinic in a gym. One frequently asked question has been how to determine the difference between soreness and pain.

It is important to understand the difference between muscular soreness and pain. While is a healthy an anticipated result of exercise, pain is unhealthy and an abnormal response. The line between the can be difficult to recognize, and the ability to be able to differentiate between as sore muscle and actual pain is important in decreasing the chance of injury.

Muscle soreness:

  • Tender when touching muscles, tired or burning feeling while exercising, minimal dull, tight and achy feeling at rest
  • Onset occurs during exercise and/or 24-72 hours after activity
  • Improves with stretching, following movement (“warm-up discomfort”)
  • Worsens with immobility

Pain:

  • Ache, sharp pain at rest or when exercising
  • Occurs during exercise and can last for >3 days if not addressed
  • Improves with R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Worsens with continued activity

If you are you’re experiencing extreme pain or pain lasting longer than 1-2 weeks you should seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist.

 

  1. http://www.apta.org. Accessed Oct. 26, 2017
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