Thrive/Strive

Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Muscle Soreness

Get rid of that dreaded muscle soreness ASAP

We’ve all woken up and had a pain that we weren’t really expecting. Some of our muscles are causing so much pain that we don’t even want to move. This is muscle soreness and it’s not fun to deal with.

You may feel as though you can’t do anything about it. Once you’re sore, you’re sore. You can’t just get rid of it and make it vanish.

This may be true, but there are ways to help ease the soreness. There are ways that will help you greatly reduce the pain you are feeling to something that is much more manageable and tolerable.

Ibuprofen

Yes, this is a pain reliever, but that’s the point of this article. Do you want to be able to move freely without feeling sore? I know I do.

I’m not saying to take an entire bottle, but take a couple as a start. Ibuprofen is a low-dosage, over the counter pain reliever. This will be a good start to the pain relief. It probably won’t get rid of all the pain, but you’ll be able to stand the pain a little more.

A pain reliever like ibuprofen will only help. It will not hurt you at all when it comes to having pain.

Ibuprofen isn’t the only option here. There are plenty of other options that you find at your local drug store. Just ask around the store and somebody should be able to tell you what all of your options are. The generic store brands are typically just as effective as the other name brand pain relievers.

Just be sure to check the dosage of each one because you do not want to take something that may be too strong for you.

Gentle Stretching

This is something that should be done immediately after any workout anyway. Stretching is key to keeping your muscles loose and warm at all times. In all honestly, some stretching should be done prior to any workout too.

When you have loose muscles, they aren’t going to be as tight, meaning you won’t be as sore as you could be.

However, if you don’t have loose muscles like a ballerina or neglect stretching immediately after a workout, you should do some kind of stretching the next day. Make it light stretching.

The reason behind light stretching is because you don’t want to overwork the muscles that are already tired. Stretching is working the muscles, but when you are doing it when they are already fatigued, you are putting them at risk to be overstretched.

A good way to think about it is to imagine your muscles as a rubber band. The more you stretch the rubber band the closer you are to having it break. A rubber band that has been left outside all day gets really tight from the weather conditions. This is what happens to your muscles when you workout, they get really get. Then when you try to stretch that rubber band, you have to be really careful because if you pull too fast, it will snap. The same goes for your muscles.

You don’t want to strain your muscles by trying to do too much in a stretch. Tight muscles must be handled with care.

The light stretching should be long and slow. Rushing into the stretch will put you at a higher risk for an injury. Many muscle injuries are a pain in the ass to deal with because they take so long to heal. So, when you have the tight muscles, ease into the stretches. That sore feeling will gradually ease as well.

Light Massage

Like stretching, you don’t want to work the muscle too much when it is already tired when it comes to massages. A deep tissue massage will do more harm than good if you go that route.

You only need a light massage to loosen the muscles up. You don’t need to work the pain away. If you somehow do that, I’m going to assume that you won’t be able to move your muscles at all.

Massages supposed to be a relaxing experience and you want to be able to go away from it knowing your muscles aren’t as tight as they were.

Doing this will loosen the muscle while getting more blood flow to the area thus keeping the muscle as loose as possible.

Warm Bath

This is going to help keep your muscles loose. Think of it as your body needing to warm up before going into any physical activity. You never want to just jump straight into an activity. You may feel a pain that was never there before. Every muscle will be more susceptible to injury if they aren’t warmed up at all.

When you have a lot of blood flow throughout your body, you aren’t going to be feeling much soreness at all. Once your body is warm, your mind isn’t going to think about the soreness. No soreness means you will be able to focus more on the task at hand.

Doing an activity pain-free allows you to be more efficient when you are doing a physical activity. Even if this is happening the day after a tough workout, you’ll be able to push yourself just as hard. No workout will suffer.

The drawback of this method is that your muscles aren’t going to be able to recover as fast as they probably could. When heat is applied to your muscles, they aren’t recovering.

This is when you need to be careful because if you continually push yourself to the max without giving your muscles time to repair themselves, they will break down even faster and you risk a major soft tissue injury. Injuries like a torn muscle, not just a strain or a pull.

Hot/Cold Treatment

This may be one of the most effective ways to help with the prevention of muscle soreness.

Applying heat for about 10-15 minutes will help keep the blood flow through your muscles. The cold will help with muscle recovery.

We already know the benefits of applying heat to your muscles and keeping them warm. You’ll have the proper blood flow that will help keep them loose. Loose muscles will allow for more fluidity in your movements as well.

Cold helps your muscles recover much faster than they normally would. This is why you recover faster in your sleep. There isn’t much circulation through all of your muscles so they have time to properly repair themselves.

Applying something cold will keep the inflammation of your muscles down and get rid of the lactic acid that has been built up in the muscles.

Lactic acid is that burning sensation you feel in your muscles during physical activity. It slows us down and can stay in our muscles for an extended period of time depending on how much we push ourselves. The quicker we can get rid of the acid that is in our muscles, the faster they are going to feel brand new.

Consume Protein

This should be a no-brainer. Anybody that is working out should understand that importance of protein in your diet and after a workout.

Protein is going to help in the speed at which your muscles begin to recover. A lack of protein in your system will cause your muscles to recover slower. This leads to your muscles staying tired for a longer duration. When they stay tired, there is the possibility of them staying sore longer.

Having protein in your system helps your muscles repair themselves. Muscles are made up of proteins and when the muscles are broken down during a workout, you need more protein present to help with the recovery process.

Whey protein is what many experts recommend after a workout. The reason for this is because of the amino acids that are contained in whey proteins. They have three main amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) which aid in slowing down the process by which proteins are broken down in the body. These amino acids also help promote protein synthesis, the process by which your body builds and makes proteins.

Hydration

This one, like protein, should go without saying. You should stay as hydrated as possible at all times of the day.

When you’re hydrated, you are getting the full functionality of your muscles. Having the full function of your muscles will help them recover faster, just like when it comes to protein.

Proper hydration allows your body to function like a well-oiled machine. When you can keep this up even after working out, you will have less soreness and pain the next day.

Being properly hydrated can also help flush out all of the toxins in your body. When you are lacking toxins in your body, it recovers faster.

If for some reason you get dehydrated, you are not only risking a lot of health issues, you are also risking your body being sorer than it might have been. The pain will be much greater.

Stay hydrated and help flush your body of the toxins to try and maximize the recovery process. Soreness can last for days, but when proper hydration is taken into consideration, that pain will be reduced significantly.

Compression

Compression keeps swelling down in the muscles. Your muscles begin to swell up during exercise because of the amount of blood flow that is happening and due to the fact that your muscles are being broken down. Your muscle fibers are being ripped apart during a workout which allows them to grow when they recover fully.

With compression, it keeps the blood flow to your muscles after physical activity keeping them loose while at the same time flushing out some of the lactic acid that has been trying to build up in your muscles.

Not only does it help flush lactic acid from the muscles, it helps keep other unnecessary byproducts from entering the muscles you have just exerted, thus keeping the aches to a minimum.

The drawback of having the compression on your muscles is that you have to have it on for hours at a time. This may not be too bad for some, but for others, the compression can get uncomfortable. This is just something to keep in mind if you are thinking about going down this route.

Topical Ointments

A topical ointment is an ointment that can be applied to the skin (i.e. Icy Hot, Tiger balm).

These ointments are going to give you a very nice, soothing sensation in the areas of soreness. They are typically only used after you feel the soreness. Other than that, there really isn’t a reason to use it.

They won’t be very effective in the prevention of muscle soreness, but they come in handy when you are feeling sore already.

Many of these ointments are going to feel like a cold/hot treatment in an isolated area. They definitely help the muscle loosen up and take the pain level down a few notches.

Topical ointments are a quick go-to for those moments where you need some relief almost immediately.

Be Smart and Pain Free

These tips on how to get rid of muscle soreness can be helpful when they are done properly. They are not, however, prevention techniques for muscle soreness.

That sore feeling is going to happen no matter what when you keep pushing yourself when it comes to physical activity. The key to having minimal pain is to try to do everything you can immediately after a workout.

The more “preventative” stuff you do for soreness, the less pain you’ll have the next day. Then when you go through all of these tips again, the pain will be reduced even more.

Your soreness doesn’t have to last, you just have to be smart in how you attack that pain to minimize it as much as possible.

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