Embarking on a fitness journey often comes with a rollercoaster of sensations, these include soreness and discomfort. It’s important, however, to be able to distinguish between the ‘good’ pain that signifies progress and the ‘bad’ pain that may indicate potential injury.

The Spectrum of Sensations: From Discomfort to Distress

1. Good Pain: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

DOMS is the discomfort or soreness felt in muscles 24 to 72 hours after exercise. Particularly when engaging in new activities or increasing the intensity of your workout.


  • Muscle Fatigue: You may experience a sense of fatigue in the targeted muscles.
  • Tightness and Stiffness: The affected muscles may feel tight and stff, especially during movement.
  • Temporary Discomfort: DOMS is typically temporary and diminishes as your muscles recover.


  • DOMS is a natural part of the muscle repair and growth process.
  • It signifies that your musles are adapting to new challenges, getting stronger, and building endurance.
  • Moderate discomfort is normal and should not cause alarm.

2. Back Pain: Acute or Sharp Pain

Acute pain is sudden and sharp, often indicating more immediate issue that requires attention. This type of pain can occur during or immediately after exercise.


  • Sharp and Intense: Pain that feels sharp or intense, rather than a dull ache or soreness.
  • Localised Discomfort: Pain is often focused on a specific area rather than a general feeling of soreness.
  • Does NOT Improve: Unlike DOMS, acute pain does not improve with rest or time.


  • Acute pain can be a sign of injury, strain or overexertion
  • Ignorning acute pain may exacerbate the issue and lead to more severe injuries.
  • If you exerpience sharp pain during exercise, it is crucial to stop and assess the situation

Listening to Your Body: Key Considerations:

1. Intensity and Duration:

Good Pain:

  • Gradual onset of discomfot after challenging workouts.
  • Improves with rest and recovery.

Bad Pain:

  • Sudden and intense paint hat persists beyond the workout.
  • Worsens with continued ativity.

2. Location:

Good Pain:

  • Dull ache, stiffness, or tightness.
  • Gradual onset of discomfort.

When to Seek Professional Advice:

If you’re uncertain about the source or severity of your pain, we recommend you to consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert. Ignoring persistent pain can lead to long-term issues and hinder your fitness progress.


Understanding the difference between ‘good’ pain and ‘bad’ pain after exercise is crucial for a safe and effective fitness journey. Embrace the discomfort that accompanies muscle growth and adaptation, but be vigilant for signs of acute pain that may signal potential injury. By listening to your body, respecting its signals, and seeking guidance when needed, you can navigate the spectrum of sensations and cultivate a sustainable and injury-free approach to fitness. Remember, pain is your boyd’s way of communicating, so let’s learn to interpret its messages wisely.