Soreness vs. Pain - What Is the Difference?

Soreness vs. Pain - What Is the Difference?

We all want to stay healthy and active, but sometimes it can be difficult to know if we have sustained an injury or if the exercised muscles are simply sore from activity. This is an important distinction to make. Muscle soreness is a normal and healthy result of exercise, whereas pain is unhealthy and an abnormal response. If you are experiencing pain, you will want to get proper treatment to ensure you do not suffer any permanent damage.

Pushing Your Body to the Limit

To gain muscle and improve strength, it is necessary to push your body to an appropriate level to reap the gains of your work. However, every individual’s body is different and one person’s activity threshold will differ from another’s depending on age, baseline strength, and participation level. For example, if you are beginner runner, your threshold might be at the 10 minute mark, whereas an experienced runner’s threshold might increase to 30 to 40 minutes. Understanding your threshold is a big part of enjoying the fruits of your labor while avoiding injury.

Pain or Soreness?

Muscular soreness usually peaks after about 24 to 72 hours of physical activity. When you exercise, safe damage to the muscle fibers occur and, during this time, you might ache, your muscles might be tender to touch or feel tight. Movement will likely be uncomfortable at first, but if you move and gently stretch your muscles, this can decrease your soreness. Consider alternating between exercises to give certain muscles the time to recover while you work on strengthening others.

Unlike soreness, pain is not a natural response to physical activity. It might feel sharp and located in your muscles or joints. While muscle soreness is temporary, pain often lingers even after a period of rest. If you push through the pain, you will likely only further injure yourself. In cases where pain is extreme or does not resolve after 7 to 10 days, you should consult with a healthcare professional. He or she will be able to properly diagnose your condition and suggest appropriate treatment and care.

Monmouth County Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine

At ProFysio, our premier clinic offers a vast range of physical therapy services for individuals who are experiencing joint pain, movement disorders, decreased mobility and more. If you are experiencing pain, have sustained an injury, are suffering from chronic joint pain or are recovering from surgery, turn to ProFysio for state-of-the-art treatment and quality care.

Call us today at (732) 333-6360 to request a free consultation.

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