What is Soreness?

Soreness is a common feeling of discomfort in the body. It can be acute or chronic, and can occur as a result of illness, injury or physical activity. Pain is your body’s way of signaling something is wrong, and helps you make sure you take care of yourself.

Types of Soreness

Soreness can be classified in a few ways, including acute and chronic, acute vs. chronic musculoskeletal and localized vs. generalized.

  • Acute vs. Chronic: Acute pain is sudden and severe, and usually lasts a short amount of time. Chronic pain is persistent and can last for weeks, months, or even years.
  • Acute vs. Chronic Musculoskeletal: Acute musculoskeletal soreness is caused by trauma, overuse or strenuous activity and usually resolves on its own. Chronic musculoskeletal soreness is usually caused by an underlying condition and may require medical treatment.
  • Localized vs. Generalized: Localized soreness is located in one area or region of the body, whereas generalized soreness affects multiple areas or systems.

Common Causes of Soreness

Soreness can be caused by a variety of factors. Often it results from an injury or trauma to the body, from overuse or exertion, or from inflammation associated with an underlying condition. Other causes can include medical conditions, such as arthritis, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, and infections. Additionally, certain medications, such as steroids, can also cause soreness.

Treating Soreness

Treatment for soreness depends on the cause and severity of the pain. Treatment options can include rest and avoiding activities that cause pain, over-the-counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, stretching exercises, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture or massage therapy.

If the pain persists for more than a few days, contact your healthcare provider to rule out a serious underlying condition.