Is Pain Part of Working Out? - Brittany Myren, PTA

Posted: July 22, 2020

“No pain, no gain”  is a saying that we often hear, but what does it mean exactly? Why would we want to do something that is painful? Is there really anything to gain from pain? 

Pain can be the body’s response to an internal or external stress; It can be a result from injury, illness, disease, trauma, and other things. This is our body’s way of telling us that we need to pay attention to something that is going on in our body. 

There can be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ pain. ‘Bad’ pain would be if there is a specific mechanism of injury that happened along with certain movements that reproduce the pain. ‘Good’ pain is soreness in a muscle group that was introduced to a new exercise or posture that gets better with movement.

We call ‘good’ pain from a new activity, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. This is a normal muscle response to new exercises, activities, or postures and it is how the muscles get stronger.  DOMS will last for 24-72 hours following a workout and will get better with movement, as the muscles get warmed up. 

So, is pain part of working out? There is a level of discomfort associated with performing new activities or new workouts as the body adapts to the exercise, but if the pain gets worse with exercise or is reproducible with specific movements you will want to hold off on the exercises that make it more painful and follow up with a therapist to assess your symptoms.  

*A g-stockstudio photo via

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