Relieving sore muscle pains can seem like an impossible task without knowing exactly what to do. Many people will simply endure the soreness until it goes away. The simple fact of the matter is that there are actions you can take to not only relieve muscle soreness pain but to also prevent it from happening in the first place.
This ultimate guide will give you the knowledge to take charge of your pain and have an action plan ready to reduce the frequency of muscle soreness pains and to actively alleviate muscle soreness.
Below is a description of what causes muscle soreness, how to prevent muscle soreness, and how to treat muscle soreness.
What Causes Muscle Soreness
The most common muscle-associated pain is from sore muscles. Many people understand that working out or doing strenuous exercises results in sore and aching muscles, but do not know the underlying physiological reasoning that these actions lead to soreness.
One of the most widely spread theories behind Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the accumulation of lactic acid, which results in pain. Essentially this explanation describes that during intense exercise, muscle cells have less available oxygen. Less oxygen means that muscle cells go through what is known as anaerobic metabolism resulting in the production of what is known as lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulates in the muscles and causes the feeling of pain. This theory has been used by many to explain the usefulness of stretching and massages in alleviating muscle soreness. This theory however is not scientifically based as there has been no association between lactic acid buildup and muscle soreness.
The more scientifically-based theory as to what causes muscle soreness is what is known as microtears in the muscles. While muscles tearing may sound like a bad thing, it is actually the mechanism behind the process of building muscle. Essentially the body responds to these microtears by repairing them and building them to be stronger to prevent further tears. This is why people who do the same exercise everyday will experience less muscle soreness as they do the exercises more often.
Whatever the reasoning, workouts can result in soreness ranging from 12-24 hours post activity. These hours can cause discomfort and interfere with your day-to-day activities. Below are ways that you can decrease prevent severe DOMS as well as ways to help relieve the pain.
Muscle Soreness Prevention
Muscle soreness is an inherent part of exercise. The process of tearing and rebuilding is essential to muscle growth and is unavoidable in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. However, there are things you can do to prevent muscle tear associated injuries and to limit the soreness you feel at any given time. Below are some tips to help reduce severe muscle soreness.
Hydrating: Hydration is an important aspect of people’s health that is often overlooked. The human body is up to 60% water by body weight. To maintain proper bodily function and to allow your body the best chance to run efficiently, maintaining proper hydration is key.
Preventing muscle soreness with hydration acts by improving the flow of nutrients to cells and waste products away from cells. Increasing the efficiency of molecule exchange decreases muscle stiffness which can reduce major tears resulting in more muscle pain.
Warm-Up: Warming up is the process of gradually starting a strenuous activity. In practice, this means you will want to do a lighter exercise before a more strenuous one. Rather than going to the gym and immediately picking up the heaviest weight, the concept of warming up states you should utilize smaller weights first and work yourself up to the heavy weight.
Warming up can prevent excessive muscle soreness by increasing circulation to a given area before you place high stresses on the muscles you are using. Without a warmup, the muscles may be stiff, which can lead to more aggressive microtears or even muscle strains. These both are prevented through warming up.
Rest: Rest is an important part of preventing excessive muscle soreness. When an individual experiences muscle soreness, it is as a result of the body repairing the area. By giving your body a rest day between workouts, you allow your body the time it needs to repair the microtears.
Without rest, the body is unable to keep up with the demand for repair. Overworked muscles can result in more severe muscle strains and ultimately lead to excessive muscle pain.
Pace: The best way to prevent excessive muscle soreness pain is to pace yourself. Oftentimes when people want to make a healthy change in their lives they want to see results fast. To accomplish this they may overwork their muscles to try and achieve fast results. While this can work, it can lead to excessive muscle pain and possibly injury.
A more sustainable approach is to pace yourself. This means gradually increasing intensity, duration, and difficulty as time progresses. This will give your muscles the opportunity to properly heal and be ready for the next challenge. This will also lead to less pain experienced at any one given time when compared to a non-paced approach.
Relieving Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness is an inherent part of working out or strenuous activities. Knowing what to do when muscle pain strikes can be extremely advantageous.
- Stretching: Stretching is a great way to help heal sore muscles. Stretching works by increasing blood flow to the area and stretching the muscle. During the healing of microtears, the muscle can actually heal in a way that causes the muscle to shorten.
- Ice: Ice is an effective treatment for sore muscle pain because it is able to numb the area in addition to reducing swelling. During the repair of microtears, the body naturally creates inflammation. Reducing inflammation through the use of ice can decrease the sensation of pain. It should be noted that proper icing technique is important to ensure the safe application of ice. Proper technique involves applying ice with a cloth barrier and only keeping the ice on the area for a maximum of 15 minutes. This technique is to ensure that the area does not become frostbitten.
- Menthol: The risk of frostbite is the biggest concern with icing a sore muscle. Constantly having to time applications and have a barrier can be a hassle to achieve pain relief. A great alternative is to utilize a topical that has menthol in it. Menthol is a substance that is able to trick the body’s sensations into feeling like there is something cool on the surface of the skin.
A great product to utilize for sore muscles is the Hempvana Cold as Ice Roll-On. The roll-on applicator makes it ideal for a quick and mess-free application. With the cooling benefits of ice without the hassle of icing technique, Hempvana Roll on Cold as Ice is ideal for those looking for a quick and easy treatment for muscle soreness.
- Elevation: Elevation is the process of placing an inflamed area above the level of the heart. By putting the area above the heart, gravity is able to push excess fluid down to the heart. For sore muscles, elevation can help alleviate inflammation-associated pain or discomfort during the recovery period.
A great way to achieve leg elevation is the Hempvana Leg Ramp. By positioning your legs at the optimum height and position, the ramp is able to relieve some muscle soreness and inflammation. Simply lay down, relax, and let gravity do its work with the Hempvana leg ramp.
- Topical Pain Relief: One of the surest ways to reduce sore muscle pain is to utilize the targeted power of a topical pain reliever like Hempvana Gold Pain Relief Cream. Hempvana has a formula containing trolamine salicylate, hemp seed extract, turmeric, aloe, and more. This formula leaves the area relieved from pain and the skin nice and hydrated.
For reducing muscle soreness pain, Hempvana has you covered with a pain relief cream that fits your needs best.
Completely eradicating muscle soreness may not be possible, but there are things you can do to minimize the amount of discomfort and level of soreness.
Preventative measures like staying hydrated, warming up, giving your body time to rest, and pacing your workouts can help minimize the amount of muscle soreness pain before it occurs. No matter how hard you try to prevent muscle soreness, it is sure to creep up on you at some point or another, and being prepared to treat it can allow you to reduce pain faster.
Relief options for muscle soreness include stretching the sore areas, icing, menthol, elevation, and topical pain relief.
Now knowing how to prevent and treat muscle soreness will allow you to live your life to the fullest and not let muscle soreness dictate your day.