How to Get Rid of Sore Muscles: Quick Relief Tips
What was it like when you just signed up for a gym membership? Exciting, right? But by day two of your new fitness plan, your muscles started aching and sore. Sound familiar? Muscle soreness is common after a new or strenuous workout.
And while it can be uncomfortable, it doesn't have to stop your routine. Although there are different causes of muscle aches, exercise is one of the common causes often experienced by the majority.
Sore muscles have unpleasant side effects. Depending on the type and intensity of the exercise, muscle soreness after a workout can range from barely noticeable to extremely painful. Despite the cause of the muscle pains, we look at different ways to combat muscle soreness ranging from traditional methods like ice packs and over-the-counter painkillers to newer options like CBD muscle gels.
This informative guide highlights some crucial ways to lessen the severity of the soreness you may experience and much more.
What is Muscle Pain?
Muscle pain, or myalgia, is a sign of an injury, infection, disease or other health problem. You may feel a deep, steady ache or random sharp pains.
The pain may range from mild to severe and limit movement. Muscle pain may begin suddenly or worsen over time. It also may be worse after activity or at certain times of the day. You may feel pain, soreness, cramping, aching, stiffness or burning.
Most muscle aches and pains go away on their own within a short time. Sometimes muscle pain can linger for months. Muscle pain is a natural process that can be felt almost anywhere in your body, including your neck, back, legs, arms, and even your hands, yet should be addressed with care. Here is extensive coverage of the different causes of muscle sores worth knowing.
Quick Relief Tips for Sore Muscles
1. Hydrate During and After Your Workout
It might sound obvious, but staying hydrated is an important aspect of muscle repair. Water keeps the fluids moving through the body system, which eases inflammation, flushes out waste products, and delivers nutrients to the muscles.
Although every exerciser should adopt an individual hydration strategy, it is worth remembering some helpful rules regarding fluid supply during exercise.
Approximately 30 minutes before your planned physical activity, consume about 1 glass of water or isotonic drink. During training, drink water in small sips (approx. 50 - 100 ml) to reduce the chance of thirst.
After exercise, on the other hand, the amount of fluids depends on your weight loss. To replenish losses, consume approximately 500 ml of water or other beverage (without unnecessary calories) as tart cherry juice for each kilogram of body weight lost.
What are the Signs of Dehydration?
The trouble is, it can be tricky to know if and when you’re dehydrated, as you’ll probably reach dehydration before thirst hits. Some of the dehydration symptoms to look out for may include thirst, chills, clammy skin, elevated heart rate, nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and dry mouth.
2. Immediately After Your Workout, Use a Foam Roller (Self-Myofascial Release) or Massage Gun
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a technique used to release tension in muscles and connective tissues (foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and massage sticks are common SMR tools), helping to move the fluids that accumulate in the muscle after exercise.
Foam rolling may help increase the range of motion as well as increase circulation and blood flow to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the affected area, which helps reduce swelling and tenderness.
Massage guns (also called “percussive massage treatment” or “vibration therapy”) are another popular tool to promote post-workout muscle recovery.
Percussive self-massage devices work similarly to massage in general. These handheld machines deliver rapid vibrations that, when placed on your muscles, can help promote blood flow to that area. Many massage guns come with attachments of various shapes and sizes to better target different-sized muscle groups.
3. Eat Within a Half Hour After an Intense Exercise
By feeding your muscles the nutrients needed to repair and grow back stronger, you can speed up the recovery process.
Protein is important for the amino acids needed to rebuild your muscles, while carbohydrates play a starring role in replenishing the fuel stores your muscles used up during your workout.
But don’t stop at the post-workout snack; you won’t help your muscles recover if you go hungry or skimp on nutritious foods the rest of the day.
Prioritise meals and be sure to keep your daily protein intake fairly consistent so your tissues are fed a steady stream of amino acids throughout the day.
4. Adequate Sleep
Sleep is critical for many reasons, but it’s also one of the most important components of exercise recovery. It may not seem like it has an immediate effect on muscle soreness, but it can be useful in repairing muscle fibers.
Nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, for example, increases protein synthesis (the creation of new proteins), which is needed to repair damaged muscles.
So, the post-workout phase is no time to skimp on shut-eye. Aim to score at least seven hours of sleep.
5. After a Tough Workout, Do Light Exercise
Sore muscles need to rest, but that doesn’t mean it’s best to kick your feet up and spend the day on the couch. Try to get some gentle movement through activities like restorative yoga; an easy walk, swim, or cycle; or even light resistance training.
The key is to avoid doing another intense workout using the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
Blood can move to the sore muscles to deliver oxygen and nutrients needed for repair - without causing more damage to the muscle tissues and reducing onset muscle soreness.
6. You May Want to Steer Clear of NSAIDs
One may be tempted to pop a pain reliever and call it a day. In doing so, you may sacrifice key parts of the muscle-rebuilding process. Although some painkillers ease pain associated with muscle soreness, they may prevent further muscle strain.
Related: Topical Vs Oral Medications
Taking a maximum dosage of over-the-counter ibuprofen stalls progress during an eight-week resistance training program geared toward building muscle and strength in young adults.
In place of these painkillers, we highly recommend the use of HEMPE CBD Muscle Gels. These gels are made with natural ingredients like CBD (cannabidiol), and eucalyptus oil, to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain fast.
They come in two distinctive forms. HEMPE Hot Muscle Gel is great for warming sore muscles, easing tension, and reducing pain in just a few minutes while HEMPE Ice Muscle Gel offers a cooling and soothing sensation and reduces inflammation.
Medical Conditions Causing Muscle Pain
Not all muscle aches are related to stress, tension, and physical activity. Some medical explanations for myalgia include:
- Fibromyalgia, especially if aches and pains last longer than 3 months
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Myofascial pain syndrome, which causes inflammation in muscular connective tissues called fascia
- Infections such as the flu, polio, or bacterial infections
- Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, dermatomyositis, and polymyositis
- Use of certain medications or drugs, such as statins, ACE inhibitors, or cocaine
- Thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- Hypokalemia (low potassium)
When to See a Doctor
Most cases of muscle stiffness will go away on their own or with the aid of home remedies, but prolonged or frequent stiffness can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition.
If someone is experiencing muscle soreness along with additional symptoms, such as fever, pain, dark urine, or swelling, they should speak to a doctor.
People should always speak to a doctor about any bothersome side effects of medications they are taking, including muscle soreness. A person needs to tell the doctor about all the symptoms they have and get an accurate diagnosis.
Bottom Line on Sore Muscle Care
From the information, when it comes to exercise - soreness is inevitable. When it creeps in 24 hours after exercise and persists for a few days, it is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness.
While the mechanisms behind DOMS are multifaceted and still being studied, the following steps can help maximise muscle growth.
- Progressively transition into a fitness programme - especially after long periods of inactivity. Regular exercise can help restore proper muscle tone.
- Walking, cycling, and swimming are recommended aerobic activities to try. A physical therapist or athletic trainer can teach you stretching, toning, and aerobic exercises to help you feel better and stay pain-free.
- Begin slowly and increase workouts gradually. Avoid high-impact aerobic activities and weight lifting when injured or while in pain.
- Consume a rich source of protein (20-30g) and carbohydrates following exercise to promote tissue healing and recovery. Foods high in antioxidants can also combat inflammation and promote recovery.
- Focusing on recovery techniques such as massage, compression, heating pads, cold therapy, and foam rolling helps reduce muscle fatigue and pain associated with DOMS.
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