Is my pain normal or does it indicate an injury?

There are many benefits to exercise, including the potential for improved physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes there may also be some discomfort that occurs with these activities due to the stresses placed on the body.

It is important to understand the difference between exercise-related muscular soreness and pain. Muscular soreness is a healthy and sometimes expected result of exercise. Pain is an abnormal response. Experiencing pain may be indicative of injury.  

To maximize your exercise gains and minimize injury risk, it is important to be realistic about your activity and to be able to tell the difference between moderate muscle soreness and pain.

Muscle soreness typically peaks 24-72 hours after exercise. You might be tender to touch and stiff and achy in your muscles.  Movement may initially feel uncomfortable but should ease with light stretching and easy activity.

Pain, on the other hand, might occur during or after exercise. It may be experienced as sharp pain in the muscles or joints. Injury pain may linger and not fully resolve, even with adequate rest.  If you feel your pain is severe and isn't resolved after 7-10 days, you may have an injury and may need to seek medical attention.

We hope that this blog was informative. If you have any questions on this topic or any others in which you are interested, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions. Thank you for reading and stay active.


Stephany Primrose, PT

Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness, Mechanicsburg, PA


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