Differentiating Between Muscle Pain and Soreness

When you work out for the first time, or the first time in months, we all have that dreaded soreness that comes back. This page should help you realize if the feeling you’re getting is related to pain or soreness. This is more for people who are starting out, but it can be helpful for the gym rats who always think that their pain is soreness and try to bulldoze through it all. The biggest problem is that pain is relative to the individual. People have different anatomies so exercises effects each of us in a different way. Some of us have a higher pain tolerance than others, and some are just used to it.

Differentiating Between Muscle Pain and Soreness

The key to figuring out the difference between pain and soreness is timing,areas affected and effect on your everyday life. The first thing is to realize how timing can affect what you’re feeling. If you are in the middle of a 300lb squat and you are feeling pain in your leg, it’s PAIN, not soreness. Anything you feel within about 3-6 hours of a workout has as high probability that it’s a pain related issue compared to a soreness problem.

If you feel fine after a workout but you start hurting the next day, it’s most likely going to be DOMS. It’s normal to feel pain anywhere from 1-3 days after working out. If it’s an especially hard workout, or you haven’t worked out for a while, that first workout might keep you sore for 4-5 days in rare cases. That’s why it’s best to go light for the first couple of workouts to help keep yourself from never wanting to workout again. A “hard” workout is relative to the person as well. You know yourself best, if you’ve been a couch potato or sitting in an office all day expect to feel some extra pain compared to your buddy who’s been working out for a while.

Is It Pain Or Just Sore Muscles – DOMS

Now timing is a huge factor in determining soreness or pain, but also think about the area affected. If it’s hurting in an area that you didn’t work out, your weird. In all seriousness, if it hurts in your calf when you worked out your biceps, I would consider it pain since you didn’t exercise it at all. In general though, it’s going to hurt in the muscle group that you worked out.

DOMS = Delayed onset muscle soreness

Think about the exact area affected. For instance, if you worked out your biceps, if it hurts all across the muscle then it’s sore. But if it hurts in just one spot, like just right at the end of the bicep near your forearm, then it MIGHT mean you either made a small tear or stretched out a ligament to far. but if the pain is in the middle of the muscle, you shouldn’t worry since it’s just soreness. So use some logic and consider what part of the muscle is hurting you the most and what is underneath that skin in that specific spot.

Knowing The Difference Between DOMS And Something Else!

Now I understand the feeling, as I know I am a wussy towards soreness, but sometimes the soreness is so bad that you can barely carry out normal activities like picking up a backpack or picking up a frying pan. Usually this happens after a long time working out in my case, and by the next workout I feel soreness for half the time and half the pain. But these unusual cases are what I call soreness based pain. Essentially you in so much soreness that it qualifies as pain. If this emergency does happen, make sure to rest your muscles before working out again. Or else it will be an endless cycle and pain and tears. NO PAIN NO GAIN.

DISCLAIMER: I am obviously not a doctor so if you are feeling real pain, don’t consult an online article and seek out a real doctor immediately!

Leave a Reply