Five ways to ease muscle pain

It’s not uncommon to get muscle pain up to 48 hours after exercise. Even if you haven’t been to the gym or completed a triathlon, you can get muscle pain from working in the garden, or doing strenuous household chores.

The good news is that normal muscle soreness is a sign that your body is getting stronger. Muscle pain is often associated with something called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which occurs when your workout has created tiny tears in muscle fibres.  The pain occurs as the fibres repair and become even stronger. A burning sensation in the muscles is due to a build-up of lactic acid that often occurs immediately after intense exercise, but this tends to resolve itself fairly quickly.

Muscle soreness often goes away by itself within a few days. However, while the muscles are healing, it can be uncomfortable and restrict movement. Try these quick tips to ease your muscle pain.

  1. Rest

As your body recovers, it needs time to heal.  If you can, take some time out and rest the muscles to give them a chance to heal faster. 

2. Do gentle exercise

Even when resting muscles, it’s still important to keep joints and muscles moving for overall better mobility. Try doing some gentle exercise such as a walk, gentle stretch, or a swim.  Swimming in particular is great for easing those sore and stiff muscles.

3. Get a massage

Massages are a great way to ease muscle tension by improving blood flow and mobility. We have fantastic massage therapists right here in Pottsville.

If you can’t afford a massage, try a foam roll.  Place the foam roller on the floor underneath the sore area and roll your body over it. You can buy foam rollers from exercise equipment stores, and check out online videos about how to use them.

4. Have a salt bath

Epsom salts are great for alleviating muscle pain and inflammation.  Try some Epsom salts in a warm bath with a bit of lavender oil to aid relaxation.

If you don’t like the thought of a bath, you can carefully apply a heat pack to relieve muscle soreness. But be careful to apply the heat pack for no longer than 10 minutes at a time.  There is a risk with heat packs of burning yourself if too hot, or with causing inflammation to muscles and joints, which could make the problem worse.

If the heat isn’t working, try a cold pack to reduce inflammation and nerve activity. Also only leave this on for 10 minutes at a time, and never put ice packs directly onto the skin.

5. Eat antioxidants

While it may seem easy to take an anti-inflammatory such as Panadol, there is emerging evidence that antioxidants may be more effective in relieving muscle soreness. For example, watermelon has an amino acid called L-citrulline, which can reduce muscle soreness.  Other foods to try include cherries, ginger and pineapple. Antioxidant supplements such as fish oil and curcumin (found in turmeric) may also help. Using topical arnica on the skin can also relieve muscle soreness.[1]

The best way to prevent muscle soreness is to stretch before exercise, and to work your way up to vigorous activity rather than jumping straight into it.  Also, ensure to keep well hydrated throughout exercise so that the muscles have more fluid during intense activities. It’s a good idea to have regular chiropractic, massage or acupuncture treatments to help keep your joints and muscles in peak condition.

However, if you experience ongoing muscle pain even without exercise, or pain that continues for more than a few days, see your health professional.

Chiropractors can help alleviate muscle pain that is associated with joint dysfunction and restrictions in the body. This allows muscles to move much more freely, and helps to reduce the risk of future injury.

For more information contact Bruce at Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.



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