When to Listen to Your Body’s Pain

Athletes, health buffs and novices alike all know the saying, “No pain, no gain.” To some extent, this saying is true.

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Weight-bearing and cardiovascular actions stress the physique. As a results of that stress, we improve our energy and endurance. By pushing our bodily boundaries, we optimize our athletic efficiency. But this course of is sort of all the time at the price of feeling some degree of ache.

And that results in questions contemplated at instances by weekend warriors, bodybuilders and leisure athletes alike: “Should I push through the pain? And is there such a thing as ‘good pain’?”

Sports drugs doctor Dominic King, DO, has a solution that helps lower by way of considerable and often-conflicting recommendation:  “A certain low level of soreness is acceptable, but you should not push through pain while exercising.”

There might be instances when the ache is unhealthy and protracted sufficient to warrant not simply giving the train a relaxation but in addition paying a go to to your physician. 

Getting sore

Good ache, imagine it or not, does exist. When you might have ache that could be a feeling of soreness or achiness, it’s often the results of gentle irritation or microtears in your muscle tissues or tendons, Dr. King says. Extensive train also can trigger a build-up of lactic acid within the muscle tissues.

The muscle repairs these tears once you’re resting, and this helps muscle tissues develop in dimension and energy. This microtrauma might sound dangerous, however it’s your physique’s pure response when your muscle tissues expertise work.

This sort of acceptable ache would possibly happen once you begin a brand new train or return to an train you haven’t achieved shortly. You really feel some achiness that lasts for a couple of days. This sort of soreness diminishes after you relaxation.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Another widespread type of exercise-induced muscle soreness can develop once you carry out an unfamiliar bodily exercise for an prolonged time and not using a gradual ramp-up. This is named delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. It develops a few days after intense train. 

DOMS can also occur after train through which you’re contracting your muscle tissues on the similar time you’re lengthening them, says orthopedic surgeon Mark S. Schickendantz, MD. This can occur, for instance, if you happen to run downhill, ensuing, once more, in these microtears in muscle tissues.

Unfortunately, no therapy but has been proven to really scale back the size of time that muscle tissues stay sore and weak. Ibuprofen or alternating cold and warm packs might assist to ease the ache briefly, Dr. Schickendantz says.

The excellent news is that the soreness usually goes away in a couple of days by itself. Whether or not you need to work by way of one of these ache is a tough reply. If you’re solely experiencing low-level soreness, Dr. King says, it’s in all probability okay to do a lighter exercise. Some bodily exercise would possibly even assist to ease the achiness.

“There is, however, a very fine line between gaining results through building muscle and causing damage,” Dr. King says. If your DOMS is a little more painful, it’s finest to keep away from strenuous train till you’re now not sore. 

What to do about persistent ache

But robust, sharp or persistent ache that develops if you are exercising is a distinct matter.

“Pain represents injury,” Dr. King says. “It occurs as a result of overuse or too much stress placed on a muscle or a tendon. It can be the result of repetitive use or a single episode of overloading a muscle or tendon. That’s muscle strain.”

Pain throughout bodily exercise is a sign that you’re placing an excessive amount of pressure on a muscle or tendon and may cease, Dr. King says.

“People used to say you need to ‘suck it up,’ or just push through the pain. They’d say you need to keep going to get results. But pain is your body trying to tell you something, and you have to listen,” Dr. King says.

It’s additionally vital to ensure the ache and tightness you’re experiencing will not be related to one thing extra critical, Dr. Schickendantz says.

Symptoms of attainable structural harm that benefit session with a doctor embody:

  • Sudden, sharp ache.
  • Sharp ache that stops you from shifting a physique half, decreases your vary of movement, or prevents you from shifting altogether.
  • Pain in an space that was beforehand injured or the place you’ve had surgical procedure.
  • Pain related to deformity or large swelling.
  • No ache aid after a number of days of relaxation, ice or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Constant ache or ache that’s worsening in severity.
  • Pain coupled with strain and bruising.
  • Pain that’s so intense that it causes nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Pain related to fevers and chills.
  • Pain that retains you up at night time or wakes you from sleep

Give it a relaxation

The cornerstone of treating muscle soreness is relaxation, however it’s additionally vital to maneuver and preserve your vary of movement as a lot as attainable.

Applying ice and warmth undoubtedly may also help, as can considered use of anti-inflammatory medicines.

“However,” Dr. King says, “inflammation is your body’s way of healing injuries. So you may not want to halt that inflammation entirely. If you have to ice often or take medications frequently, this may indicate an unacceptable type of soreness that should be evaluated by a physician.”

If soreness or ache is considerably affecting your day by day actions, inflicting noticeable weak point, persists for a number of weeks to a month or continues when you’re resting or interrupts sleep, it’s time to see a health care provider, Dr. King says.

Start low and go gradual

Stretching earlier than and after train and staying well-hydrated may also help you keep away from muscle pressure. But the very best option to keep away from reaching the stage of unacceptable ache — in addition to to forestall the onset of DOMS — is to start out low and go gradual, Dr. King says.

That means you begin at a really low depth and length and slowly ramp up your effort and time to construct endurance.

“If your daily job and daily activities do not involve flipping tires and grabbing large ropes, then that is probably not how you should start out with an exercise program,” Dr. King says. “Instead, give yourself plenty of time to reach your fitness goals.”

The start-low-and-go-slow strategy goes for cardiovascular train and weight coaching, and each sort of train in between. 

And ensure you’re all the time utilizing the correct method for any train, says Jamie Starkey, LAc. “Recurring pain connected with sports often is due to incorrect form or technique. If you can catch these errors early, you can retrain yourself so that you avoid re-injury or chronic recurrences.”

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