Is It an Injury, or Could It Be Something Else?

By May 16, 2024cold pack, Hot Pack

Deciphering Different Types of Pain Can Change How You Treat It

Injuries and muscle pain are common, especially for athletes and people with active lifestyles. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, musculoskeletal pain is the number one reason people visit their doctors yearly.  The good news is that most injuries are minor and treatable with the right approach.

When pain strikes, it can sometimes be challenging to determine whether it is soreness or a more serious problem that could indicate an injury. This dilemma often leads to uncertainty about whether to push through the discomfort or seek professional advice. Understanding the difference between muscle soreness and a potential injury is crucial for effectively managing and preventing further harm. Let’s explore this topic in depth to determine when that pain might warrant closer attention.

Muscle Soreness vs. Injury

Muscle soreness, also known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), typically occurs after engaging in physical activity your body isn’t accustomed to. It’s characterized by stiffness, discomfort, and a consistent dull muscle ache and usually subsides within a few days. With DOMS, muscles may also feel tight and tender to the touch.

On the other hand, an injury involves damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones, and it often presents with symptoms such as sharp pain, swelling, bruising, and limited range of motion. Pay attention to the pain’s duration, intensity, and nature to discern whether it results from overexertion or something more serious.

While pain from an injury is immediate and may persist for days and become more intense if left untreated, DOMs peak 48 to 72 hours after a workout activity. The pain subsides after that, leading to significant improvement in mobility. 

The ability to differentiate between injury-related pain and post-workout soreness empowers patients to take appropriate action. Pain that goes away shortly and does not limit mobility may not be anything to worry about. However, if the pain is accompanied by soreness or aches that linger for days, it may be a cause for concern and time to see a physician.

Effective Treatment for Musculoskeletal Pain

Muscle soreness or injury happens to anyone, so recovery is always relevant. When faced with pain or discomfort, alternative solutions such as hot and cold therapy offer much-needed relief, especially for issues associated with muscle soreness, spasms, and sprains.

Depending on the severity of the injury, hot and cold therapy can be an effective treatment option for relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing. Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, involves applying ice packs or cold compresses to the affected area. 

It constricts blood vessels, reducing overall circulation and dampening the inflammatory response.  Cold therapy also reduces painful swelling and fluid buildup, providing relief, particularly for new or acute injuries. If dealing with a joint sprain, muscle strain, bone fracture, or immediately after physical activity, icing is the optimal choice.

On the other end of the spectrum, heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, involves applying heat to increase blood flow to the affected area. This removes excess lactic acid and other toxins from tired/sore muscles. The heat makes the muscles more relaxed, relieving muscle pain, soothing sore muscles, and improving the range of motion. It is usually a popular choice for treating older injuries. 

Depending on the stage and severity of the condition, hot and cold therapy can be used alternately or in combination. Incorporating this approach into a post-exercise routine involves applying cold therapy immediately after exercise to address initial pain and inflammation. After acute pain subsides, heat therapy can promote muscle relaxation and healing.

Explore Rapid Aid’s Solution to Muscle Pain

Rapid Aid offers a range of high-performance products designed to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with muscle soreness and injuries. From instant hot packs to microwavable gel bead packs and instant ice packs, our products cater to the needs of every muscle-related pain. We’re your trusted partner in hot and cold therapy solutions.

Contact us today, and let us support your business with quality products that provide relief when needed most.