Muscle soreness stemming from exercise is often normal. Pain, on the other hand, is the body's way of screaming, "Stop!" and telling you to take notice. It's a message you should listen to.

Moreover, make sure that you are not masking pain with aspirin or other medications for any length of time. Subduing pain on an ongoing basis can lead to a false sense of security. We see this often with professional athletes: After a serious knee injury, for instance, cortisone shots or other potent medicines enable the athlete to continue playing, undeterred by pain. But the continued impact of playing causes more damage to an already traumatized knee...until the damage becomes so bad that reconstructive surgery is needed.

The bottom line: If you're in pain, there is likely an underlying cause that needs attention. Consult your doctor.