By: Anthony Campo
In order to continually make progress with training it is important to differentiate the type of soreness that triggers a positive body adaptation and soreness that can become damaging.
When training a new exercise or intensity, acute soreness can often occur. Most people can obtain a great deal of success without purposely training to get sore; however acute soreness can occur with increased training intensity. Acute soreness is often a result of micro trauma that can stimulate the body to get stronger and build muscle. Proper rest and nutrition are important factors in how the body recovers from this micro trauma. When proper recovery occurs this acute soreness will typically dissipate within a week. If the soreness lasts longer than one week then more severe damage could have possibly occurred. Pain that lasts continuously past a typical recovery cycle can begin a new cycle of chronic pain.
For optimal training results acute soreness should not be treated with drugs or methods that slow down the body’s natural inflammatory process. Although you may get some temporary relief from the pain of the acute soreness, slowing down the body’s inflammatory process means slowing down its healing process as well which can be damaging over time.
It is perfectly fine to train through acute soreness; however you might want to take extra warm-up precautions in order to prevent improper movement patterns as a result of the soreness. Performing warm-up methods such as mobility exercises, stretching, and soft tissue work can aid in the body’s natural healing process.
When a damaging chronic inflammation situation has occurred then anti-inflammatory methods can be indicated. Chronic inflammation no longer is assisting in the body’s natural healing process and can in itself be damaging. Treating the inflammation can help break the cycle of pain and dysfunction as you train to fix the root causes that led to the situation.