After a good workout you expect to feel some muscle soreness, but how do you know when that soreness has crossed the fine line from soreness to injury.
When we exercise or exert our muscles we put them under tension which causes micro tears, this and/or an excess of lactic acid build up results in inflammation and pain.
This kind of post-workout pain often begins a few hours after the exertion and may continue for a few days after. After that initial 36 hr period it should start to reduce dramatically. The muscles may be sore, but muscle function is not impaired in any way.
The best way to deal with this kind of muscle soreness is not to rest the muscle, but do some light stretching during the 24 hours following your exertion. This movement causes the blood to circulate freely delivering vital nutrients to any damaged tissues and promoting fast recovery. Some other things you can do to help with muscle soreness are:
- Use an ice bath – soak the affected muscles for 10 minutes.
- Use heat – a few hours after exercise, apply a heating pad or other source.
- Eat pineapple or tart cherries – these fruits have anti-inflammatory properties.
If the pain you experience is sharp, persists for a longer period of time than just a few days or is immobilizing in any way then you are not experiencing typical muscle soreness but have actually caused damaged to the tissue.
Identifying this difference is very important because early detection is key for a quick recovery. If you have to adjust your normal activities because of the severity or duration of pain then don’t wait, schedule a visit with your physical therapist right way.
Examination and diagnosis by a professional is very important because treatment may vary drastically based on the kind of injury you have sustained. Some injuries may need massage and stimulation, some may need RICE therapy (Recovery, Ice, Compression and Elevation), and yet others may need complete rest or even surgery.
Your Bellevue physical therapist will be able to examine any painful areas and help you to outline the right therapy for a quick recovery. Contact us or call (425) 462-9800 for an appointment today.