If you have been one of the lucky ones who has played or is playing a competitive sport, then you probably heard the phrase “Are you hurt or are you injured?”  Some of you may be asking, “what’s the difference?’  Well believe me when I say there is one.

When you work out or play at high intensity you create a high level of stress on your muscles and joints.  This is not necessarily a bad thing however it can cause some discomfort a few days later.  The constant contraction and extension in your muscle tissue during a competition or training hard causes microscopic tears in the cells of the muscle.  This is absolutely normal, so don’t be alarmed.  This is the process your muscles go through in order to repair and become stronger.  Your body over compensates by adding more muscles tissue in order to handle the resistance you have been placing on them.

Over the next 24 hours following an intense competition or work out your muscles may tighten up and become sore.  This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.  This is a sign that your muscles are getting stronger.  This is caused by the microscopic tears in the muscles tissue that occurs when placing more resistance, or stress, on your muscles during an activity.  This is the way your body adapts to the added demand causing it to get stronger.

Muscle soreness should not alarm you or cause you to stop your workout program.  Too many people get sore and misunderstand it for injury.  They end up abandoning their training and never realize their goal of better fitness.  However, if the pain seems to be more focused at the joint or causes you to not be able to move an extremity in a full range of motion then you should seek the advice of a Doctor.  Muscle soreness is characterized by a dull pain in a muscle that lessens or disappears during stretching or contracting the muscle.

If you suspect that you have injured yourself what are the steps to take?  One of the best and fastest ways to recover from a suspected injury is the institute the RICE Principle.  The RICE Principle is stands for Rest Ice Compression Elevation.  The first, and probably the hardest, thing to do if you suspect that you have suffered an injury is to rest.  Rest gives your body a chance to recover by decreasing the stress you place on a certain are of the body.  I am not a big believer in completely stopping what you are doing.  What I am saying here is to take that particular body part out of the equation.  If you feel that you have injured your shoulder then I suggest you stop doing pressing movements.  But you can still continue to perform cardiovascular and leg exercises.  Just be sure to give them adequate time to recover between workouts.

The next thing that you need to do is ice the injured area.  Ice reduces inflammation which allows the body to move more freely.  An injury causes your body to compact the injured muscle with fluid in order to stabilize it.  This is your body natural way of giving support to the area.  This fluid causes major discomfort and pain.  By reducing the inflammation you will be able to increase your range of motion during the injury and decrease the pain caused by the increased fluid.  Another trick you can try is to stretch while icing.  The ice must be cold enough to penetrate many layers of tissue.  While under ice slowly stretch the infected area through a full range of motion if possible.  This will help the cold go deeper into the tissue.

Compression helps to reduce inflammation and gives support to an injured muscle.  There are many devices on the market that will help you with this.  Applying an elastic ace bandage around an injured area is the most basic way to achieve this.  When applying a compression bandage make sure that you do not apply it so tight as to cut off circulation.  There should be no pain caused by the compression.  This may also give you the support you need to continue on with your training.

When you have a laceration on an extremity that is bleeding excessively you are told to raise, or elevate, the limb above heart level in order to help slow or stop the bleeding.  This holds true with muscle injuries as well.  Yes you’re not bleeding but it helps remove the fluid caused by the inflammation out of the injured area.  This is a good time to watch your favorite television program, read a good book, or take a well-deserved nap.

When applying the RICE Principle you should do several intervals for 4 to 6 hours per day.  Applying heat should not be done until all or most of the inflammation is eliminated.  If you have not noticed a reduction of pain and inflammation after 48-72 hours then you should seek the advice of a Doctor.

Determining whether or not you are sore or injured can be confusing to some people.  Once you begin to understand your body and know how it responds to the stress placed upon it you will know when you’re injured.  If an injury is suspected then applying the RICE Principle will give you a step ahead of what your Doctor will immediately prescribe.

Leave a comment

Follow DedicatioPT

Welcome to our website, where your journey to a healthier, stronger, and more vibrant you begins! At DedicationPT, we’re thrilled to embark on this wellness adventure with you.


DedicationPT © 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Designed by KetchupConsulting.com | Web Design and Consulting in Temecula