There is no more doubt that physical activity brings so many benefits to our lives.
But all these positive aspects are a bit overshadowed by one unpleasant side effect of sports training: muscle pain of various intensities.
Perhaps everyone who has at least once worked out in the gym or even at home is familiar with the unpleasant sensations and pain in the muscles that appear the next morning after a workout.
Pain syndrome most often occurs in beginners after the first workouts, but even if you are an experienced athlete, you most probably have experienced pain in the muscles after high-intensity workouts when performing weight-lifting exercises.
Sometimes the pain disappears on the next day, while sometimes it “holds” for several days, interfering with your daily activities. How to relief from muscle pain after workouts?
Here are some simple things that you can do to help your muscles recover faster, letting you do your best in your day-to-day life.
Are Sore Muscles a Good Sign?
Not all muscle pain is created equal. There are two types of muscle pain that are considered natural and therefore safe.
One appears right during the training, at the moment when you perform the last, most difficult repetitions of exercises. Why is this happening?
During training, ATP (adenosine triphosphoric acid), which is an important source of energy, begins to decompose in muscle tissue and blood.
Because of this, hydrogen ions accumulate in the blood and muscles, and the blood Ph begins to shift towards oxidation.
Therefore, burning sensation appear namely due to this process of “acidification” of the blood. It passes quite quickly: blood and increased air ventilation in the lungs help the body cope with the accumulated hydrogen ions.
But all subsequent pain is associated with microdamage in muscle tissue and it is so-called delayed pain. It occurs between 6-8 hours after exercise and reaches a maximum in about 2-3 days.
As a rule, its appearance is the result of an unusual or excessively increased physical exertion.
I have experienced this kind of pain many times not only at the very beginning of workouts but also when mastering new sets of exercises or increasing their duration and intensity. The cause of this type of pain is microscopic damage or even tearing of muscle fibers.
A large number of microdamage in muscles inhibit the growth of muscle tissue. This is due to the fact that muscle growth requires amino acids, which are also needed for the healing of damaged muscles.
What actually happens when there is too much microdamage in muscles is that severe muscle tissue damage “steals” amino acids for healing, thereby preventing muscle fibers from growing.
The exact opposite of natural pain is severe pain resulting from trauma. Such pain is aching in nature, is aggravated even by minor loads and becomes unbearable with a sharp movement.
The pain syndrome manifests itself immediately, during training, sometimes the next day. How to distinguish the natural pain from the severe pain resulting from trauma?
If you have redness and swelling of the tissues, bruising, general malaise, this clearly indicates a serious injury to the muscles and ligaments. In this case, do not delay the trip to the doctor!
Why Muscle Pain Shows Up?
There are different reasons why muscle soreness appears. Many athletes, having felt pain after workouts, succumb to a common misconception and consider it a sign of a well-conducted workout and a manifestation of an increase in muscle mass: “If it hurts, it means it grows.”
In fact, severe muscle pain and inability to move normally the next day, as a rule, are usually the result of incorrect execution of the exercise technique.
Also, the so-called delayed pain after training can be caused if a proper warm-up has been neglected.
To avoid unpleasant consequences, it is enough to follow a few simple rules. Therefore, it is not worth doing the following things:
- Start hard exercises immediately, skipping the warm-up and stretching exercises;
- Continue to exercise, experiencing any inconvenience and discomfort;
- Take unbearable weight during strength training;
- Ignore the appearance of crunching or clicking in the joints during a workout.
That is why, if you are just starting out, I always recommend you do it with the help of a professional trainer that will show you the correct exercise execution technique as well as will teach you how to take care of the safety of your workouts.
What Helps Sore Muscles Recover Faster?
Safe types of pain can be relieved directly during exercise by repeating the exercise that caused it, but with less load.
These actions will remove muscle stiffness and provide an increased flow of blood that carries oxygen to the tissues and the necessary nutrients for regeneration.
Discomfort in the muscles of the legs and lower body can be removed with the help of cardio exercises, and you can get rid of pain in the muscles of the upper body by doing exercises with your own weight or practicing yoga.
If we talk about the relief of the so-called delayed pain, there are several effective methods that will help you to do that.
So, what can be done so that the pain goes away as soon as possible and does not interfere with subsequent activities, as well as everyday life and work?
#1. Proper Rest
No matter how corny it sounds, but taking a break in training for a day or two can be much more useful than taking some urgent measures to eliminate the pain.
At the same time, if the discomfort persists after three or four days, it is worth giving the load to the muscles, which is about 50% less than usual.
This will help you to not lose shape and prevent from applying a new overload during your next workout.
#2. The Right Nutrition
It is of utmost importance for the restoration of muscle tissue. After hard training, proteins and carbohydrates are vital for your muscles: the first one supply the amino acids needed for the quick healing of microcracks, and the latter provides the muscles with glycogen.
Recommended Read: Best Supplements For Muscle Recovery That Will Make You Invincible
Drinking enough water per day helps to eliminate toxins from the body and prevents dehydration, which leads to muscle fatigue. However, do not overdo it: drinking too much water causes too much load on your kidneys.
Each workout causes an imbalance in the fluid balance in the body. Losing moisture, it ceases to recover normally and signals problems through the pain.
Therefore, it is important to replenish the water balance not only during training, but also after.
In addition to still mineral water, juices of various berries perfectly relieve pain. The most popular among them are natural fresh juices made from watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, grapes.
They contain substances that help to remove lactic acid from the muscles that cause the burning sensations during your workouts.
In addition to berry juices, herbal teas and decoctions of licorice, linden, St. John’s wort, chamomile, currant leaves, viburnum, rosehip, and bearberry help perfectly.
Sleep, as you know, is the best cure for all diseases. Muscles recovery, as well as muscle growth, is most likely to occur while you are sleeping, so don’t forget to get good and enough sleep at least 8-9 hours a day.
Try to not go to bed too late as this will help you regain strength and prepare for new workouts.
#4. Contrast Shower
After a workout, a contrast shower allows you to avoid discomfort. It is enough to wash about 10 minutes, alternating hot and cold streams of water, rubbing the body with a hard washcloth, and the pain will recede.
Also, for any injuries, cold compresses or the application of dry ice helps relieve pain.
#5. Heat Measures
If the pain persists for several days, it is worth taking a hot bath. You can add some sea salt, this will expand blood vessels and increase blood flow to the sore muscles, which means that it stimulates the healing process.
Steam has been considered an excellent remedy for pain after a load since ancient times. It opens the pores of the skin and helps to easily remove the lactic acid accumulated in the muscles during training.
Therefore, half an hour in a sauna can help you quickly regain strength after serious training, and to avoid muscle pain.
Best fitness centers include pool services in the price of a complex gym subscription not by accident. Swimming stimulates blood circulation and promotes the expansion of blood vessels.
In this way, the body quickly copes with the reserves of lactic acid that appeared during the training.
Massage blends perfectly with water treatments. It is a very effective method of getting rid of delayed pain.
It gives about the same effect as swimming, it removes muscle clamps, accelerates lymph, increases muscle elasticity and relieves them of stiffness.
A good massage therapist will help restore strength and relax. Otherwise, it is worth using a special massage roller.
#8. Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen can also solve the problem.
Ways To Avoid the Appearance of Muscle Pain
It’s best, of course, to simply prevent the onset of pain. The easiest and most effective way to not experience pain after a workout is to take a reasonable approach to the training process.
Do not overload the muscles in the very first workout. It is always best to increase the load little by little, constantly adjusting its duration and intensity.
Also, never regret the time you take to warm up before proceeding with your strength training. A warm-up is a necessary element of any training session, which reduces the risk of injuries, warms up muscles, reduces their stiffness and relieves an athlete of pain after exercise.
Finish any workout with simple exercises for all muscle groups, light jogging and stretching. This will help get rid of lactic acid that has accumulated in the muscles during exercise.
Is it Bad to Work out if Your Muscles are Still Sore?
This question is often asked by novice athletes, and there is no definite answer to it, it all depends on the goals that you aim for.
If your goal is to gain muscle mass and improve strength results, then it is not advisable to continue training, since pain sensations indicate that the process of muscle recovery has not yet ended.
If training is applied just to maintain the athletic shape, then muscles can be loaded, however, with a lightened amount of load.
If you are in the gym to burn excess fat, then you can and even need to continue your workouts, but the load should be less intense.
The Bottom Line
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and now, you know better how to relief from muscle pain.
Have you ever experienced muscle pain? What was the remedy that has helped you best?
If you have any questions or thoughts about the above aspects, or you have something to add or share your story, please leave them in the comments section below and I will get back to you asap.
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All the best,