Anytime you try a new movement, increase intensity or increase the load, the chances of you feeling something afterwards is high. But is it soreness or an injury? How do you tell the difference?
I have been enjoying a new workout format called Fitwall with my friend Nicole. The Fitwall is a bodyweight-focused interval training system that kicks your butt in only 40 minutes. After an intense 40 minutes I woke up the next morning and discovered that I was too sore to raise my arms overhead! Now to be fair, I increased the intensity too quickly on a new workout. Not the best idea. I had already done my own upper body workout earlier in the week, so the upper body stuff work targeting already fatigued muscles. I wasn’t worried the next day when I woke up sore because I knew what I had done and what I could do moving forward to feel better each day.
While both soreness and injury can be perceived as pain, there are a few distinguishing characteristics that can help you determine if you should spend more time on recovery or get some help.
Soreness usually occurs on both sides of the body. While the discomfort may not be the same intensity on both sides, you will most likely feel tightness, pain or sensation on both parts of your body that were involved. If you feel pain very localized in one spot on your body (i.e right shoulder hurts right on the front of the shoulder vs. both shoulders being generally sore in the same spot) then it’s more likely that you have sustained an injury.
Soreness usually manifests as pain in the center of a muscle while injury is commonly focused around joints. If your pain is in the center of your biceps, it’s could be from all the bicep curls or drinking (of kombucha, obviously) that you did the day before. If your pain is right on the elbow or shoulder, it is more likely an injury of the tendon, ligament or joint.
While your soreness can be quite intense, it gradually diminishes with each passing day, and you’ll find that your pain-free range of motion returns rather quickly. If you find that your pain levels have not changed or are increasing, you definitely want to get yourself to a pro who can give you a full assessment. In general, soreness gets better each day while injury remains the same or increases in intensity.
Pain of any type can be scary, but understanding the difference between soreness and pain can help you plan your recovery. When soreness is very intense, gentle massage and stretching with the Coregeous ball can help ease stiffness and tension, while also helping to improve blood flow to the healing tissues.
As with any injury, when in doubt about any aspect, GET A SECOND OPINION. It will save you a lot of headache further down the road!
When was the last time you were super sore and what did you do to help alleviate it? Let me know down in the comments below!