We have all heard the saying “no pain, no gain” before, and we have been taught to understand that feeling muscle pain during and after a workout is a sign that we are on the road to looking and feeling better. Although slight tears in the muscle provide it with an opportunity to grow, medical experts say that there’s a thin line between slight muscle tears and something much worse.
Are sore muscles a good sign?
Not always. Sore muscles from a workout is not always a good sign that you’ve done something positive for your body. According to Applied Fitness Solutions (AFS), muscle soreness resulting from a workout is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
If you feel pain after a workout beyond 5 days, there might be significant muscle damage beyond that which is beneficial, according to AFS. Unlike popular belief, lactic acid is not the cause of muscle soreness. According to research, it’s only the small tears in an individual’s muscle that causes the inflammation, which leads to the pain that a person feels.
When a person feels this pain, it is important to understand if the pain is the result of a small microscopic tear resulting from a workout, or if the pain is the result of something more serious. However, if your slight pain from a workout only lasts a maximum of 72 hours, then you should be fine.
Remember, the slight pain is only the result of the inflammation that is caused by the small tear in your muscle. The tearing of your muscle, if slight, is necessary for it to grow and become stronger.
If you have slight pain from a workout, and it hasn’t gone beyond the 72-hour mark, simply stretch and do small, light warm up’s (such as walking on the treadmill) so that you can help your muscle heal with increased blood flow. When feeling pain from a workout, simply take a few extra minutes to warm your muscle-up with a few small, lightweight exercises.
What you eat matters
You might not know this but eating specific foods at a specific time can actually assist in the healing period for your muscles. When you eat foods or drink shakes that contain protein shortly after your workout, you provide your muscles with what it needs to heal faster and become stronger. The body relies on what you eat or drink in order for it to give you the results you are looking for.
When to seek help from intense muscle pain
If after a few days of working out you are still feeling intense pain in a certain part of your body, then it might be time to seek professional help. First, you can talk with a personal trainer at your fitness facility to see what you can do to minimize your chance of causing real damage to your muscle.
They can assist you by providing you with small scale workout options that will not only build your muscle but will do so without causing damage to the muscle. Second, you can—and should—see a physician if the pain you feel has not gone away or subsided after one week.
Your body might be trying to tell you something, and if you fail to listen to it you may not catch any internal issues in time enough to fix them. Working through the pain is not always a good idea if the pain is the result of something more serious than a mere workout. You may not be aware of the fact that your heart needs attention, which is why many suggest that you seek a physician’s advice prior to beginning a new workout regimen.
Working out is a great way to ensure you will both feel and look your very best. However, you must remember that intense pain from a workout is not always a sign that you did a great job in the gym.