Soreness vs Pain: What’s the Difference?

One question that physical therapists get quite often is “Is this pain normal?” or “No pain no gain, right?”. Sometimes this is a difficult distinction to make. Muscle soreness is a regular part of exercise, but sometimes pain can be an indicator of injury. The signs to look for include a duration of over 2-3 days after the activity or sharp pain with exercise or even at rest. This article on the Move Forward website is full of valuable information including an easy to follow chart.

How can physical therapy help?

A physical therapist can be a valuable resource to you throughout your exercise journey. Before beginning an exercise routine, your physical therapist can perform a variety of pre-activity assessments to determine your readiness for exercise. Based on this, your physical therapist may also recommend specific exercises that will best prepare you for your desired activities. They will also discuss the best strategies for introducing and progressing exercise activities while minimizing your chance of becoming injured.

In the unfortunate situation when exercise leads to an injury, your physical therapist will assist in your recovery in many ways. They will help with initial pain management, identify and address all factors that may have contributed to your injury to prevent further problems and provide specific recommendations regarding reintegration into exercise as appropriate.