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Muscle pain - finding balance

For muscle strength to increase, we need to cause “stress” to it. What does that mean? Essentially it must be challenged, stressed or used past the point that it’s accustomed. During exercise we might think of the stress as a burning feeling in the muscle.

This type of muscle soreness usually begins in a few hours and will peak a day or two after the workout. DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is normal. DOMS is not totally understood. But the main belief is it’s a result of little tears in the muscle during the eccentric phase in lifting. However, the body is very adaptable and become less sore with each workout.

Other symptoms of DOMS include a feeling of weakness or stiffness. The stiffness will only worsen with rest. Be sure to keep moving throughout the day . Some people believe DOMS is caused by lactic acid. However, studies have found that lactic acid is gone shortly after your workout.

A feeling of discomfort means that the muscle has been stressed. (You might feel a sudden protest from your quads or glutes getting up from the couch.) But if the muscle is exercised too much, the muscle can be very sore to the touch and may swell. (You may need assistance getting off that couch.) This can be counterproductive.

How should you judge your pain? First, pain shouldn’t last long after exercise. Pain should ebb with rest. Pain that effects your performance or increases over time is not normal. Recurrent pain is not normal. More serious problems include a feeling of weakness, tingling or numbness. Be very wary of a decrease of motion in a joint.

A perfect workout should leave your body feeling somewhat fatigued, not exhausted. Yet, energized and ready to tackle your day.

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