What is second-degree pain after a workout?

Eric Olsen

Second-degree pain, which tends to come on immediately after a workout, is longer lasting than first-degree pain, the normal aches we might feel during a workout. Second-degree pain is more localized, say in an arm or leg -- with more discreet tenderness -- rather than more diffuse, as in the case of first-degree pain. This type of pain is an indication that you are pushing up against some physical limit, that perhaps it's time to just "coast" without increasing the amount of work, simply maintaining until your body becomes accustomed to the new level of effort. Second-degree pain may also be the first hint of muscle strength imbalances or biomechanical problems, aggravated by increased workload, that presage an overuse injury. The key sign at this point is increasing localization of the pain.  

Action: You might want to cut back on your training, or at least go into a "holding pattern" without increasing your activity level or changing your routine. Wait a few days to see what becomes of the tenderness. Make sure your shoes aren't excessively worn, and check other equipment for wear or other factors that may be affecting your biomechanics. You may have to begin exploring the possibility of biomechanical problems that need to be addressed. Rest, gentle massage, heat, and over-the-counter analgesics are all appropriate.

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.