A little pain during and after exercise is normal; it’s how we push our bodies to become stronger, more flexible and increase our endurance. But how much pain is ok and when is pain actually an injury?
Some people talk about that “burn” they feel in their muscles during exercise. That’s the stress your muscles require to increase strength but it should be a mild, achy pain. Sometimes muscle soreness will start right away and last a few days after a heavy workout or sometimes there’s a delay of a day or two before the soreness kicks in. If the pain peaks a day or two after your workout and then begins to decrease, you’re likely going to be fine. Consider doing a different form of exercise until that soreness goes away.
If a muscle or joint is exercised too much or too quickly it can become an injury. If the soreness lasts more than a couple of days with little to no improvement and if it affects your regular daily functioning, you should contact your physical therapist or physician to be checked for an injury rather than try to wait it out. Bad pain is generally a sharper pain and sometimes worsens with continued activity.
Our bodies want and need to be challenged in order to improve, but attempts at trying to get in shape faster or in order to have a more efficient workout can result in injury. Increasing the duration and intensity of your exercise should be done in small increments over long periods of time. A physical therapist is a knowledgeable resource to help you with how much to increase your exercise duration or intensity to prevent injury.
For more information about “good pain” vs “bad pain” take a look at this article: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/resources/deta
If you are suffering from pain that affects your regular daily functioning, please contact us to set up an appointment to see if we can help you find relief.