Below are three tips to help spot the difference between the two:
Normally, muscle soreness shows up following a workout and lasts ~ 24-48 hours. If you feel intense pain or soreness instantly, that usually means an injury has occurred. Additionally, if the soreness or discomfort following a workout does not subside after ~4 days, this also may indicate an injury has occurred.
The location of your pain or discomfort can provide a lot of information. As a whole, muscle pain is felt broadly. If you have pain that you are able to pinpoint (i.e. a specific area in your low back), this typically is a sign of an injury.
3. 1-Sided vs. 2-Sided
General muscle soreness usually shows up on both sides of the body because we engage both sides of our body when exercising. If intense discomfort or pain is felt on only one side of the body, it’s a greater indicator that an injury has taken place.
So, what can you do?
Listen to your body. If your house is on fire, the fire alarm hopefully sounds off right away to tell you that help is needed ASAP. Our bodies function similarly and have their own alarm system to warn us when something is wrong with our health. That alarm system is pain. While pain never feels good, it does mean that our bodies are functioning properly and alerting us that our body needs attention. The longer we let the alarm sound off, the more damage that is done to our house (or bodies). It is important to seek professional help, like a chiropractor, to help heal the injury as soon as possible.
By Dr. Kevin Clark
About the Doc
Dr. Clark is the owner and head chiropractor of Clark Chiropractic in Darien, IL. He is a 4th-generation chiropractor with a passion for wellness. He enjoys researching the latest ways to increase longevity, cooking with his family, spending time outside, and helping patients live an active lifestyle.