How to Tell the Difference Between Soreness and Injury



Two ways to tell the difference between being sore (which should not prevent you from exercising) and an injury (which might require you to restrict your physical activity) is the type of pain you feel and whether it gets better with activity and time.  Soreness is generally a dull, aching pain that you generally feel over an area rather than in one specific spot.  It also shouldn’t hurt more than a 3 or 4 on a pain scale of 1-10.  If you perform a completely new exercise or haven’t worked out in a long time your soreness might be greater than a 4 but it should quickly subside with time and more activity.  Pain from soreness typically should not reside in your joints and generally doesn’t increase when performing an exercise over time.  The affected area should feel progressively better during and after your Highest Level workout because you increased the blood flow to all parts of your body and relengthened your muscles, which also helps flush out the chemicals that cause the soreness.   Alternatively, pain caused by an injury is acute, is located in a specific area, and does not get better with more use.  Pain from an injury can rate anywhere from a 1 to a 10 on a scale of 1-10, but if it doesn’t get better with properly performed exercises and stretching, it is from an injury and requires rest and treatment.