Am I sore or in Pain?
Many athletes often have a difficult time telling soreness and pain apart. Are you just sore from a hard workout or are you now having pain because of a workout? It is normal to have soreness, especially when trying a new workout or after a hard week of practice, but how do you tell the difference?
A major indicator for telling soreness and pain apart is by the duration of time. Soreness typically peaks 24-72 hours after activity. Pain will most likely happen either during activity or right after activity. The time that the discomforts last also matters. Soreness will last anywhere from one to three days. Pain on the other hand will linger on for more than three days.
Where is the pain*?
Soreness is usually located in your muscles. The soreness you feel in your muscles is caused by micro tears that occur during exercise, and you should feel tender when touching the muscle, a tired or burning feeling while exercising, or a minimal dull, tight and achy feeling at rest. Pain on the other hand can be in the muscles or joints. It will feel like an ache, and you will have a sharp pain at rest or when exercising.
What helps and what hurts?
If you think you are just sore stretching should help. When you sit still your soreness should worsen. If you are in pain it will get worse when you continue activity and get better when you rest and ice.
Pain and soreness are a part of any sport or activity you do, but ideally you will just be sore and not in pain. However, pain does happen and it is important to realize the difference in order to prevent further injury. Once you figure out you’re in pain, and not just sore, you should stop what you are doing and rest.
*If you are in pain you should take time off, if the pain continues for longer than 1-2 weeks, you are in significant pain, or you are concerned, you should consult your doctor*