The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

Anyone who has trained even moderately will have experienced pain sometime during a workout.  However, if we all stopped exercising every time we had an ache or pain, we’d never get off of the couch. When you experience pain, it’s your body telling you that it is under stress and being potentially damaged.  Guidelines are always helpful in determining the extent of an injury but if you are in a lot of pain don’t hesitate in seeking medical assistance. So, how can we tell what pain is “acceptable” and what should not be ignored?

Potential warning signs:

1. Dull ache/tired muscles – This is usually accompanied by tightness or a bit of soreness up to 24 hours after exercising.  This usually indicates that you’ve just worked your body really hard or that you might simply need to replace your running shoes.

2. Strong ache while exercising or “ouch” factor – If this is in your muscles, it is usually delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) which indicates that you have done some damage to your muscle tissue.  Should you keep exercising?  To determine if it is muscle soreness or an actual injury, try doing some hops or lunges 5-8 times to gauge your pain level.  If you can’t tolerate it, skip your workout for the day and ice the damaged area.

3. Sharp pain with area being immediately sore – If it’s too painful to hop, lunge, walk or climb stairs,  you have significantly damaged your tissues or joints.  In order to recover fully, 7-10 days of rest is recommended,

4. Red flags – Spots that are tender when you press on them and pain on bones.  If the pain of an injury prevents you from sleeping, is hot and/or swollen, numb, or you have pins and needles, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Remember, if your body produces pain it’s important to determine why it’s happening so that you don’t continue to damage it.  Experience will help you be able to listen to your body and know if you’ve had a good workout of if you have genuinely hurt yourself.