Muscle pain after workout good or bad?

Muscle pain after workout good or bad?
Is it OK to have pain with exercise?

You might have read some of our previous posts on how exercise can help with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis and overall mental wellbeing.  Have you tried increasing your physical activity recently and started experiencing pain and you are not sure if this is okay? If so, this article is for you!

It is common for people to stop meaningful activities out of fear of doing more harm. It is often thought that if an exercise is painful, then it should be avoided. Luckily, this is not always the case. So, is muscle pain after workout good or bad? And when is it okay to have pain with exercise?

pain scale
  1. Is it tolerable?

This will be different for every person. Whether you rate your pain 2/10 or 5/10, you have to ask yourself is this a pain you are comfortable with when performing the exercise. If you are comfortable with this level of discomfort then it is okay to continue. Remember pain does not always mean harm!

activities of daily living
  • Does it impact daily function?

Has the morning exercise stopped you from doing the housework, or taking the lift in work instead of using the stairs like you normally would? If pain is impacting on normal functions, then it might be necessary to reduce the amount of exercise you are doing.

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  • Does it disturb your sleep?

If you have ever had a hip or shoulder injury, you will know how difficult it is to sleep on the affected side, this is not what this question is about though. If you can usually sleep on your back with little pain and after exercise you are now struggling to get comfortable or to sleep due to throbbing pain, you might be doing too much.

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  • Does it settle within 24 hours?

Some people have little to no pain during exercise, but symptoms have worsened the next day. If you do an activity with little to no pain, but wake up the next day in more pain, then it is another indication that you are pushing yourself too far. Recent studies have shown that the once thought ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to exercise does not translate to muscle growth, so no need to exercise that hard you cannot walk the next day anymore!

If you can answer these questions confidently then it is probably okay to exercise with pain. Pain is complex and can fluctuate depending on varies circumstances, so these questions are guidelines only. Whether you are a gym bunny, someone who loves gardening or taking their dog a walk, playing with the grandchildren or currently seeing a healthcare professional for an injury and undergoing an exercise programme, worrying about the pain you experience with exercise is not something you should do in silence. It is always best to seek a professional opinion if you are unsure about this.

Here at Bodyfit Physiotherapy, we offer a 20 minute FREE assessment to help ease those worries, so please do not hesitate to contact us to see one of our friendly and experienced Physiotherapists. Head on over to our ‘about us’ section to read about our experience.

Written by Elaine Clisham from BodyFit Physiotherapy Group