The Ouch Factor: How Hurt Are You?

The quickstarter for assessing when a “minor” injury requires greater attention.

No pain

Able to exercise at full intensity and push oneself throughout course of workout

Mild Pain 

A dull ache typical of same-day muscle soreness or delayed-onset muscle soreness; can be ignored: No need to give up exercise, but lessen intensity in areas where soreness persists, and switch up routine. Example: If a killer bicep workout left your arms a little shaky, work out your back or even do cardio instead the next day.

Moderate Pain 

Commonly results from a pulled muscle, such as a groin pull or a strained hamstring; interferes with tasks/concentration: 

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Stop the activity and apply ice in the first 24 to 48 hours. 

Commit this to memory: RICE—rest, ice, compression, elevation (you’ll thank us later).

Ease back into workouts gradually and include plenty of stretching, particularly after an appropriate warm-up. 

Severe Pain 

This lets you know something is very wrong, and won’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored; interferes with basic needs:

Examples include stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, severe shin splints, or rotator-cuff injuries. Any of these will require backing way off from exercise, at the least. 

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A stress fracture warrants a doctor’s visit. 

Tendonitis can usually benefit from RICE and stretching, but may necessitate a complete halt to exercise or even seeing a doctor. 

When in doubt, seek a professional opinion. The peace of mind you have next time you’re pushing yourself all-out in spin class will be worth the time you took.

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