How to Tell the Difference Between an Injury and Soreness

For anyone that has been going to the gym for a while, or is just getting back into it, you know what muscle soreness is and you dread it for the coming days. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is something that happens when you exercise. What it is is actually micro-tears throughout the muscles that you used during the workout. Now these micro-tears are nothing to be afraid of, it’s a natural thing that your body does to adapt to new stress.

Now on the other hand injuries are different. There are multiple kinds of injuries that are associated with lifting ranging from torn muscles to broken bones. Obviously if you have a broken bone there are going to be more signs that you need attention. But there are other injuries that don’t seem as obvious that you need to rest and take it easy. You can get a compressed nerve in your back for instance. You’ll be doing a lower body lift like a squat then you feel as if your lower back, glutes and hamstrings lose all strength and you feel unstable (with or without pain). These are some of the injuries that you feel like you can push through it and be able to get through the workout, when really you should stop.

In my own personal experience with the last said injury of a compressed nerve in my lower back, trying to push through the workout and get through it will only make the injury worse. Instead of the compressed nerve taking only a couple of weeks to heal, it took me about two and a half months to fully recover (thankfully I know better now). But this should be something were you drop your complete workout and take your time to heal and get better.

So basically, the best thing to do when you are working out is if anything feels wrong or out of place, best practice is to stop and see if it gets better or worse over the next day. If its just DOMS then you will just feel achy. While if its an injury, it will either hurt or still feel out of place or wrong. So take care in your future lifts!