Pain vs. Soreness

May 18, 2018

Logan Moore

by Logan Moore
DPT | Stetson Village Location

Have you ever gotten up in the morning and felt like you got hit by a truck? Or, have you noticed some discomfort in muscles you didn’t even know you had? Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are feeling is your body’s natural reaction to activity or if it is your body’s inflammatory response to promote healing and requires pain therapy. My goal for this article is to help you understand the difference and how to treat them.
Soreness
This is your body’s reaction to something you haven’t done before. Generally, you will notice soreness dispersed throughout the entire muscle. It is a general discomfort that eases as you move or increase the blood flow to the area. Often, heat or light exercise can help to eliminate this discomfort. Returning to the activity is encouraged to eliminate soreness. Soreness only lasts two to three days.
Pain
Pain is a little more complicated to understand. It is your body’s response to injury. It is usually localized to a specific spot in the muscle or joint. Sometimes it can be reduced with heat or light activity, but sometimes it can get worse with more use. General tissue healing takes four to 6 weeks for muscle and bone. Rest is encouraged to allow tissue to heal, followed by a guided program to safely increase activity and return to full function.
Proper management of both pain and soreness can help you to return to your full function and get you back to doing what you love to do. Consult a medical professional if your pain or discomfort lasts longer than three days. Schedule an appointment at one of our locations and one of our physical therapists will help you through pain therapy and getting back to the activities you love.

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