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Soreness is Good. Pain is Not.



You’ve heard it said before "no pain, no gain." During a workout (and many times for a short time following) one will experience soreness in the muscles. That is what we call “the burn.” For muscle strength to increase, muscles must experience some stress over what it is used to, and this stress is usually perceived as the burn in muscle during activity. This mild burn is what we call good pain and is the basis of the phrase we hear when working muscles to fatigue. This pain should be short-lived and disappear soon after the activity ends.

It’s when the soreness turns to pain and it doesn’t go away that one should be concerned. So, what are some signs of bad pain? For those who workout, three causes can be 1. too much muscle stress too fast, 2. the accumulation of excessive stress over time, or 3. conducting the workout activity incorrectly.

For those who do not workout and experience muscle or tendon pain, it could be many things. Here are the most common that we see in our office:

Muscle strain or tendon injury. Symptoms of muscle strain include muscle pain, joint pain and/or muscle spams. Muscle strain (or tearing of the muscle) is an injury related to the tendons, tissue that connect muscle to the bone.

Tendonitis. Tendonitis is a condition in which the tissue connecting to the bone becomes (and generally stays) inflamed.

Muscle sprain. A sprain is a stetching or tearing of ligaments, the firous tissue that connects bones and joints.

Repetitive strain injury. This is a pain caused by repetitive movement or overuse of a muscle. Symptoms may include tenderness and pain at the injury and muscle weakness. Very common in the hands, this pain is caused carpal tunnel syndrome.

Arthritis. Inflammation of one or more joints that cause pain and stiffness is usually a symptom of arthritis. The pain can be intermittent but one with arthritis usually will experience a decreased range of motion and constant stiffness.

Pain that is constant or increasing over time and does not go away is not good pain, even for athletes. When pain does not improve with rest or requires a large amount of pain medication over time, this is something to be concerned about. Pain that begins to wake you from your sleep is also a concern. With this kind of pain, you should consider seeing the orthopedic specialist.

Pain occurs for a reason. If you are concerned about pain and concerned you may have a condition mentioned above, call Ortho El Paso to have it checked out. We offer non-surgical and surgical options for pain relief of the joints and bones.