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Soreness vs. Pain-What's the Difference?

Physical discomfort comes in many shapes and forms. For example, exercise is essential to improve physical and mental well-being, but it can cause some trouble after placing a strain on the body. When experiencing this discomfort, it’s necessary to understand the difference between exercise-related soreness and pain.

Muscle soreness is a normal and healthy response to exercise. One of the consequences of vigorous exercises, such as weightlifting, is the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid is a byproduct of muscle metabolism, but it can also irritate muscles and cause discomfort. This discomfort can make it difficult to walk, reduce your strength, or make you uncomfortable in general for a couple of days following the exercise. Muscle soreness usually peaks around 24 to 72 hours after the activity.

Pain, on the other hand, is not something you ­should experience after a good exercise routine. Pain is usually sharper-feeling and may be located in muscles or joints. Pain can linger without entirely going away, even after an extended period of rest. This might be indicative of an injury, such as a torn muscle or ligament. If you feel the pain is extreme or is lasting more than 7 to 10 days, you should see a medical professional about the issue. Your physician can diagnose your injury and help you get appropriate care.

Physical therapists are valuable resources throughout an exercise journey. Whether you’ve been injured after exercising too hard or you need help to avoid getting hurt, a therapist can help. Physical therapists can recommend specific exercises that can prepare you for desired activities and can discuss with you the best strategies for introducing and progressing exercise activities while minimizing your chance of getting an injury.

Likewise, when someone experiences an injury in the muscle or tendon, they might be given pain medication and directions to see a physical therapist for rehabilitation treatments. Physical therapists can help with initial pain management and identify and address all factors that might have contributed to your injury. This insight can help you prevent additional problems. Physical therapists can also provide specific recommendations regarding reintegration into exercise as appropriate.

If you’ve been injured while exercising, or you would like to prepare yourself more for safe exercise, talk to one of our Houston physical rehabilitation physicians at QualCare Rehabilitation. Our treatments specifically target the needs of individual patients, because we understand no 2 injuries are exactly alike. Let us see how we can help you.

Contact us at (713) 588-0042 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today.