After a grueling workout session, your muscles can become sore. Termed “delayed onset muscle soreness,” it occurs within the 24-72 hours following vigorous exercise or after exercising muscles you haven’t worked in a while. When these muscles get very sore, they may cramp up, adding to the pain.
Here are some things to try for relieving muscle pain and preventing muscle cramps.
Sure it would be nice to book a massage after your workouts, but that’s not practical. For every day relief, invest in a home massager. There are numerous products on the market, ranging from foam rollers and massage sticks to vibrating handheld massagers and massaging back and neck pillows. All of these make use of pressure, which increases blood flow to your muscles, helping to speed recovery and prevent stiffness.
Hot or Cold Remedies
Heat increases blood flow around your muscles as well as loosens them up, which helps with pain, and cold can ease inflammation. To relieve muscle soreness fast, try an ice pack or a heat wrap on the area that’s causing you pain. You can also alternate the two for added relief. There are products like creams and patches available as well that deliver the benefits of heat (often using capsaicin) or cold (often using menthol).
A way to prevent muscle soreness is active recovery. Do some light, low-impact aerobics immediately after working out. This can help by increasing blood flow to muscles, which can head off inflammation. Some suggestions for low-impact aerobics include walking, swimming, or using an elliptical or stair stepper.
If you want to relieve sore muscles fast, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help reduce the inflammation that results in muscle soreness. Be sure to follow the dosage directions, and take the minimum amount needed to relieve pain, and it’s best to do so under the direction of a doctor. If you are taking other medications, consult your doctor before taking NSAIDs.
Preventing Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that are often quite painful. These can occur after a workout, especially in people not used to vigorous exercise. But even a seasoned athlete can fall victim to a muscle cramp from time to time. Some tips to prevent muscle cramps are to stretch, warm up and cool down before and after exercise, stay hydrated throughout your workout, and don’t overexert yourself, especially if you’re a beginner or haven’t worked out in a while, such as after recovering from an injury.
If you do get a cramp, try gently stretching in the opposite direction as the cramp. This is especially helpful if you catch the cramp early. Drink some water in case the cause is dehydration, and try a hot or cold compress.
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Please note that the content on this website is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for a medical diagnosis or prescribed treatment. If you have any health concerns, seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider.