Is It Pain Or Just Soreness? How To Tell The Difference
Feeling especially sore after a workout?
Whether it’s a nagging sore shoulder or a stiff and painful lower back, there are a couple warning signs to look out for to determine if it’s a normal post-exercise ache or something you should seek medical attention for. Before you test a minor ache and turn it into a serious injury that totally keeps you out of they gym, look out for these signs.
Warning Sign 1: Pain lasting longer than 72 hours
Sure, it sounds obvious, but if you exercised 3 days ago and still can’t move normally it’s probably cause for concern. But if it hasn’t yet been 72 hours since you left the gym, you might be fine – especially if you’re trying a new workout program or lift, or are really pushing your limitations.
So if you’re squatting a little lower or trying overhead presses for the first time after a break from the gym, you can expect it to be a little sore. That’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours post-workout. The good news is that DOMS decreases over time as you get accustomed to a new exercise or routine.
Swelling (or edema) is also a bad sign – it’s part of the body’s natural inflammation process at the site of an injury, so take heed!
Do this: Haven’t seen improvement after 3 days or are experiencing swelling? Time to reach out to your chiropractor
Warning Sign 2: Pain that’s acute and sudden
So you’re at the gym and make a wrong move and suddenly your neck, shoulder, wrist, lower back or knee feels “off”. That’s a good reason to take a day or two off and make an appointment with your chiropractor, especially if you’ve pulled a muscle or sprained a joint.
Also pay attention to whether the pain is localized or general. If you’re noticing pain in a very specific spot and not soreness spread across a whole muscle it’s a reason to proceed with caution.
Do this: Scale back your workouts or take a day or two off. If it eases up you might be fine, but if exercising continues to be unbearable give us a call.
Warning Sign 3: Radiating Pain
Is the pain radiating or throbbing? That’s not good – it can a sign that the nervous system is involved. Pain shooting down the legs can be the result of a pinched nerve in the low back or pelvis; pain shooting down the arms can be caused by irritated nerves in the neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist.
Do this: See your chiropractor ASAP.
Don’t Stop Exercising
Contrary to what you’ve probably been told before (that rest cures all), I actually usually recommend that patients keep working out to the best of their ability as long as its not making the pain worse.
The problem with going cold turkey from any physical activity for an extended period of time is that you’ve deconditioned your whole body and now you’re in a weaker, less stable spot than you were before. And when you’re weaker, you’re more vulnerable to further injury once you get back at it again. Cue the downward cycle of injury and inactivity.
Instead, keep active and scale back on the reps or weights. And when all else fails, just book that appointment at Ascent Chiropractic already – better safe than sorry!
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
Whether you’re a pro athlete, weekend warrior or just looking to tone up, study after study shows that regular chiropractic care is an essential part of correcting problems, reducing pain and reaching your full potential. Ready to get stronger and looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.