Tips & Advice

Awareness is Key: Your Body’s Signs

June 2, 2018


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It is always fun and games when engaging in a taxing workout, long run, short jog, bike ride, and even short swim. There is nothing better than being active and taking advantage of one’s fitness levels! With this enjoyment of movement often times comes a harmless side effect known as soreness. It is normal to experience a feeling of soreness after activity, approximately 24-72 hours after that particular event. This is a normal process and completely healthy to experience. Sensations such as tenderness to light touch, burning and fatigued muscles when working out, and mild achiness at rest are characteristics that accompany normal soreness. This is known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This phenomenon is directly linked to fatiguing your neuromuscular systems to a level that you are not accustomed to. There are a few different theories about the causation of this sensation, and we know now it is more closely linked to overstimulation rather than muscle fiber damage. I know that you have felt this sensation many of times, and I hope that you continue to feel these sensations, that means that you are pushing yourself in the right directions towards continued fitness.

On the other hand, there are some common sensations that are NOT healthy to experience but are commonly felt especially as injury looms, and these are the warning signs that we should be aware of. These can occur spontaneously or can gradually worsen over time. The common time-frame of this will be immediately during a particular activity or within 24 hours after that activity. Often times this will occur with new movements or activities that push slightly beyond your pain threshold, known as the tissue homeostatsis model. We know now that a large majority of localized non-contact soft-tissue injuries come directly from an uptick in exercise in relation to your “sweet-spot” (prior trained level where exercise improvements can be observed, such as increase in strength, endurance, VO2-max). When one moves into the “danger zone” (this is the area where injury risk occurs) after diving head first into a new workout routine or increases their training hours spontaneously non-linearly, this is where we will see most warning signs become relevant. Warning signs are meant to provide us insight on what we are doing wrong in order to allow us to make them right.

The following is a good resource to read and understand that encompasses your body’s signs:

Normal Muscle Soreness​
“Sweet Spot”

  • Tender to light touch
  • Achiness and tightness during exercise
  • Occurs 24-72 hours after exercise, goes away 2-3 days after onset
  • Usually localized to a muscle belly
  • Feels better with movement and exercise
  • Stiffens up with inactivity
  • Gradually ease back into exposing those particular muscles to training volume as soreness dissipates

Warning Signs
“Danger Zone”

  • Sharp and throbbing pain
  • Uncomfortable stinging, shooting pain at rest and with exercise
  • Occurs during exercise, can also occur 24 hours after exercise; often will linger after onset
  • Over a muscle belly, tendon, or joint
  • Feels worse with continued activity
  • Improves with inactivity
  • If pain lasts longer than 7 days, seek appropriate medical treatment from a physical therapist that understands the activity that you are engaged in

If you begin to experience symptoms associated with the “danger zone” column, please feel free to give us a call at 423-616-1084 so that we can set you up within a day for an appointment. The earlier that treatment is rendered for an acute injury or for warning signs, the quicker you will heal.

Go ahead, take advantage of your fitness and take advantage of this wonderful area of the country we live in. Workout, run, swim, walk, but always remember to pay attention to the signs that your body provides.