Crossfit Series: What is the difference between soreness and pain?

crossfit soreness

Being able to figure out the difference between soreness and pain is key to identifying injuries early.  To a degree, soreness is expected with any kind of fitness routine, especially in the early phases of a new program.  Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a very common soreness to experience and is not a sign of injury. This is a soreness that typically sets in 24-48 hours after a new or more difficult workout. As the name implies, it is soreness in the muscles that were targeted by a specific exercise.  This soreness will subside gradually, but progressively over the course of a week, and stretching and low level activity like a bike will also help alleviate the soreness.

Pain, on the other hand, is a sensation that is more indicative of trauma to a joint or muscle. The sensation if typically more sharp in nature and directed to a more specific spot compared to a gernalized area as in DOMS. Pain needs to be addressed immediately.  When experienced during a workout, sometimes just altering your form in the exercise can help or by using a lighter weight.  Tell your coach immediately and he/she can help you with altering your exercise to avoid the pain.  If you experience pain for longer than a week or two, then this is where Physical Therapy can be helpful.  Addressing “Pain” conditions early are key to avoiding missing Crossfit workouts for long periods of time.

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