Here’s what really works — and what doesn’t.
We all secretly love sore muscles. It’s proof you put in serious work at the gym, and your body is feeling it. But some muscle soreness isn’t simply due to lactic acid buildup — it’s a sign you straight-up sent your muscles into shock.
“The significant muscle soreness that typically occurs hours after activity, usually 24 to 48 hours after activity, is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness. or DOMS,” Christopher Hogrefe, MD, FACEP, sports medicine and emergency medicine specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, told MensHealth.com. “This condition has little, if anything, to do with lactic acidosis. Instead, it appears to be the result of small tears in muscle fiber that combine with an inflammatory process to result in pain.”
You’ll notice this type of soreness after more challenging or unfamiliar exercise. “Activities that involve muscle and tendon lengthening while a person simultaneously tries to contract the muscle, Squats and running downhill, are examples of such exercises,” says Hogrefe.
So what are the symptoms of DOMS? “Muscle soreness, lack of strength, decrease in the speed of muscle contractibility, and muscle stiffness are all symptoms of DOMS,” says says Katie Lawton, an exercise physiologist in Rehabilitation and Sports Therapy at the Cleveland Clinic. “DOMS can decrease the speed of muscle contractibility by 5-8% and change joint mobility.”
If your body needs a little more help with recovery, try one of these tips to get rid of sore muscles.
Chances are you spend several hours a day hunched over a screen—no judgment, we’re right there with you. And, to compensate for being sedentary, you might go extra hard working out. Add stress and poor sleep hygiene, and you’ve got a cocktail guaranteed to make your muscles tighten up. At the end of the day, you’re left with aches and pains that take a toll on your overall wellbeing, impairing your ability to feel comfortable in your body.
Relieving muscle soreness is not only a must to reboot your mood, it’s also something you can take charge of yourself, restoring a sense of control over your body. While it would certainly be nice to have the means to have a massage therapist rub away every little muscle ache that crops up, that’s likely not realistic or feasible. Luckily, we consulted four wellness experts who gave us great at-home alternatives and preventative strategies.
So, read on for the 16 best tips to get rid of sore muscles while helping you unwind, tap into your zen, and ultimately, find some sweet relief.
Meet the Expert
- Miriam Fried is an ACE-certified personal trainer and owner of MF Strong.
- Mona Dan, LAc, is an herbalist, acupuncturist, expert in Chinese Traditional Medicine, and founder of Vie Healing.
- Nancy Richer is a ballerina and founder of the Richer Movement, concierge ballet-based training.
- Karena Dawn is a certified yoga teacher and the co-founder of the lifestyle wellness community, Tone It Up.
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Leah Flores / Stocksy
One of the most essential things you can do to get rid of sore muscles is stay hydrated. Not only will this help lubricate the joints, but proper hydration will also speed up recovery help calm inflammation. “I like to make my own electrolyte beverages during the day with a splash of pink salt a squeeze of lemon,” says Richer. “I aim for drinking half my body weight in ounces of water after that.”
Try a Split Workout Routine
If you’re exercising regularly, it’s important to use a routine that allows for sufficient recovery time between sweat sessions. “You need to give your muscles time to recover between workouts, so ideally, to have them working at an optimal capacity, we want to wait two to three days before working the same muscle group,” says Fried. “If you’re still finding you’re going into every workout feeling sore, it could be a sign you are not taking proper steps for recovery. This could mean you’re neglecting stretching, not getting adequate nutrition, or overtraining.”
Use a Foam Roller for Myofascial Release
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Foam rolling, which is considered a type of self-myofascial release, has been shown to aid recovery from intense exercise reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. When massage is not an option, foam rolling after a workout can provide a viable substitute for breaking up adhesions reducing pain in fatigued muscles. “It can help reduce tightness in muscles, increase your flexibility, prevent injury,” notes Fried. “After each workout, set aside 10 to 15 [minutes] to stretch roll out your muscles using a foam roller. I generally suggest that you program it into your workout so you don’t neglect it.”
Rolling out just a few times a week can make a difference in opening up your muscles. And, feel free to roll out every day. “You want to roll slowly, pausing when you hit a tender spot breathing for a few seconds as you hold apply pressure to the sore spot,” explains Fried.
Soak in a Warm Bath
“A bath is my favorite way to unwind after a long day of training,” says Richer. “I usually put two cups of Epsom salt in.” Warm water will help dissolve the Epsom salts, which release magnesium, a mineral that can be absorbed through your skin. Magnesium helps your muscles relax. Sounds perfect after a hard workout.
Sore muscles are common among those who work out and exercise regularly. Having sore muscles makes them feel like they’ve worked the body enough, shedding their extra calories. Muscle soreness associated with vigorous exercise is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Sometimes, sore muscles may occur due to a sedentary lifestyle.
Irrespective of the cause of muscle soreness, many find it difficult to live with sore muscles and need some help coping with it.
Ways To Get Rid Of Your Sore Muscles
If you experience sore muscles and you are unable to deal with the pain, consider trying some of these ways to reduce the soreness in your muscles.
1. Get Enough Exercise
If you are a couch potato or you have a job that involves a lot of sitting, it is time to move around more. Sitting for too long, especially in bad posture, can cause strain to your neck and soreness in the shoulders and
So, to avoid this soreness, you need to give your body some movement to move the muscles and joints. A walk in the neighborhood or using the office stairs instead of the lift is a good practice.
2. Stretch Your Body
Whether you have sore muscles because of your fitness routine or because of stress, stretching can help ease the pain. Stretching your body improves muscle flexibility.
If you work out, make sure you do some stretching exercises before and after your sessions to prevent DOMS. These stretching exercises can minimize the tear in your muscles.
If you spend half your day in front of the computer, you tend to develop stiffness in your muscles. This stiffness is associated with stress. Stretching your muscles, especially neck muscles, at your desk can help relax them and avoid muscle tightening. Stretching can also improve your body posture.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking enough glasses of water will keep your body hydrated. When you exercise, you sweat and your body releases the water present in it. This can cause dehydration. Therefore, it is important to have at least 8 glasses of water every day.
Water is important for muscle repair and growth. This is particularly important if your body is involved with intense workouts. Along with protein-rich foods, muscles also require water to synthesize the proteins to help in muscle building.
4. Give Your Body A Massage
Massages are an effective solution for sore muscles; you can do this yourself or take the help of someone who knows how to apply the right pressure to your sore muscles.
Massages can relax both your mind and body. It eases the tension in the muscles and helps calm your mind. Gentle massages also improve blood circulation in your muscles, aiding the process of muscle repair. A
5. Apply Heat To Your Body
Applying heat to your body can improve blood flow, reduce the muscle pain, and can also relax your muscles. You can apply heat by taking a hot water shower or even soaking your body in a hot bath tub.
A hot water shower or a hot bath tub stimulates feelings of relaxation and works faster to relieve the muscles from pain. However, make sure you avoid this if you have an open wound, skin allergies, or visible swelling. Those with heart diseases or hypertension should consult a doctor before applying heat to the body.
6. Use Hot And Cold Treatment
Hot and cold treatment is effective for muscle pain and inflammation. Hot treatment is recommended if you have stiff or
You can do this at home by applying a clean towel dipped in hot water to the affected area for two minutes. Make sure it is not burning hot so that you don’t burn your skin. Follow this with cold application – dip a towel in cold water and apply it to the affected area. Repeat this at least four times for effective results.
7. Slow Down Your Fitness Routine
If you have sore muscles, it is important to take your fitness routine slow and easy. Intense workouts may worsen the existing condition. Make sure you work out under the guidance of a fitness instructor, so you know you are exercising in good form.
If your sore muscles don’t heal and cause more discomfort, consult a doctor
Ayurvedic Approach To Heal Sore Muscles
Ayurveda offers several natural ways of pain relief. Although Ayurvedic practices take time, they have been proven to be effective.
1. Ginger May Reduce Muscle Pain
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. 1 Animal studies show that ginger may help reduce muscle pain caused due to strenuous exercises, which may help ease human muscle pain as well. However, the effect of ginger on human pain relief is uncertain. 2
In a yoga journal, a yoga therapist claims that a hot water
2. Mustard Seeds May Relax Muscles
Mustard seeds may help relieve muscle spasms. This can be done by tying mustard seeds in a cloth and placing it in hot water. Immersing the hands and feet in this hot water may relieve joint pain as well as muscle soreness. Mustard seeds mixed with water can also relax muscles. 3
3. Abhyanga Massage May Relieve Muscle Soreness
One of the well-known massage therapies Ayurveda offers is the massage called Abhyanga massage. This massage is recommended for muscle soreness, joint pain and stiffness, stress, tension, nervousness, restlessness, and sleeplessness. 4
This massage treatment uses warm ayurvedic herb infused organic oils like Mahanarayan, Ashwagandha oil, and sandalwood oil in a base of organic coconut or sesame oil. This is massaged gently on the affected area to ease stiffness or muscle pain.
Do you have sore muscles after a day on the mountain? If you’re not used to it, challenging or unfamiliar exercises like skiing, snowboarding, or mountain biking can bring more muscle soreness than you’re used to.
Delay onset muscle soreness or DOMS might be something you’re used to from hitting the gym. If you change up your physical routine, though, now you have a whole new set of muscles supporting and stabilizing your body.
If you’re expecting to get sore muscles on your mountain sport vacation, it’s useful to know how to get rid of sore muscles. Why? To maximize your vacation and get back on the mountain quicker, of course!
Keep reading for three proven ways to ease muscle pain and get back to doing what you love.
You Are What You Eat
One of the best things you can do to reduce sore muscles is to eat certain foods. Mushrooms are full of compounds called polysaccharides that are known to be powerful anti-inflammatories. The way they work is by reducing cytokine creation.
Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, such as tart cherries, has been known to drastically reduce DOMS and muscle soreness. Inflammation is partially an immune response and partially due to microtears in muscle fiber.
Contrary to popular opinion, it has very little to do with lactic acid buildup.
Fighting soreness with diet shifts can be done leading up to and after your physical exertion. If you’re used to a lot of intense activities, it’s easy to add a few healthy additions to your diet.
Fire and Ice: The Perfect Pair
Heating pads help to open constricted blood vessels as a vasodilator. In turn, that increased blood flow helps to flush the area of muscle waste and inflammation-causing hormones.
Alternating with an ice pack can help reduce downtime and prevent elastic tissue damage. The most effective time for this is immediately after physical activity and up to 24 hours after.
One study investigated the use of ice baths to reduce swelling and tissue breakdown that adds to DOMS. It was found that a 5-10 minute ice bath up to 24 hours after physical activity can reduce pain and downtime by up to 20%!
Massage and Compression
Foam rollers and compression gear are well known to reduce muscle soreness and help prevent muscle damage after workouts. They help to prevent edema or fluid buildup after your physical activity while increasing blood flow. That, in turn, reduces creatine kinase in your muscle (and those resulting aches and pains).
It may come as no surprise that massage is one of the top ways to reduce soreness and recovery time.
Cytokines are natural proteins that are essential for immune system function. But too many cytokines can cause an inflammatory response in your body. When you do an intense or unfamiliar physical activity, like snowboarding or skiing, it creates a mini “cytokine storm” that causes the familiar aches of muscle soreness.
Massage not only reduces cytokine production and release but also stimulates cellular mitochondria. This helps to promote cell repair and overall function.
How to Get Rid of Sore Muscles After Mountain Sports
Now that you know how to get rid of sore muscles, you may realize it doesn’t take much to make a big difference. Eat the right foods, wear the right gear, use ice and heat packs, take an optional ice bath, use a foam roller, and, best of all, get a massage.
Simply Massage has been serving Colorado mountain towns including Glenwood Springs and Avon for over 15 years. We’re dedicated to mountain culture and helping you feel your best.
Do your body a favor and go where the locals go. Contact us at 970-748-1600 to book your massage and get rid of those sore muscles today.
Muscle aches and pain are a common occurrence in people of all ages, including children. Whether it is a viral infection, stress, nutritional deficiency, dehydration, muscle overuse, inappropriate posture, or trauma, muscle pain can arise due to different reasons. Surprisingly, muscle pain can still affect you when you don’t use your muscles enough.
Muscle pain is inevitable.
But on a positive note, eight proven ways can help you get rid of muscle pain. Let’s take a look.
Rest is the best solution to relax your stressed muscles.
Most people experience acute pain due to certain activities like a high-intensity workout, heavy weight lifting, or during a sports event. In that case, immediately discontinue the activity and avoid using the same muscle group. It is a good idea to wait for 48 hours before you work out with the same muscle group again.
While rest is essential, it is often not sufficient alone, and you will need to use several other methods to get rid of aching muscles.
#2 Cold Packs
Cold packs are a tried and tested tool for reducing pain and swelling. It reduces swelling in the muscles, which eventually aids in subsiding pain. For best results, you need to use an ice pack wrapped in a light towel for 15-20 minutes on your aching muscles every 2-3 hours. Ice packs are an excellent way of managing muscle pain, especially during the first 24 hours of the injury. In case you don’t have an ice pack, try a bag of your favorite frozen vegetable, and it would work just fine.
#3 Warm Bath
Warmth reduces muscle tension and improves blood circulation. So warm compresses are also a proven way to get rid of muscle pain. In case a larger or several muscle groups are involved, a warm shower or a good soak in a tub can be very relaxing.
Another great way to get rid of aching muscles is massage. It improves blood circulation and reduces spasms and muscle tension. A good massage also helps reduce stress, which is another major cause of muscle pain. Moreover, it improves the recovery of soft tissue injuries.
Massage can surely help you eliminate aching muscles, but it is most effective when done by a professional.
Almost all fitness enthusiasts are aware of the importance of a good warm-up. It improves blood circulation in your muscles and prepares them for some intense movement and activity. But when you do not give enough time to warm up, aching muscles in an inevitable outcome.
Warm-up is not only effective in reducing muscle pain after exercise, but it can also improve your overall performance. A warmed muscle stretches better and relaxes more quickly. A light jog, rope skipping, and cycling can be great warm-up exercises that can help you eliminate post-workout aching muscles.
Indeed warm-up is essential. But most people forget to relax their body after a workout. As a result, aching muscles are the only outcome. To prevent post-workout muscle pain and fatigue, it is best to stretch your muscles for a good 10 minutes after a workout. It is best to stretch all major muscle groups in your body, including your arms, legs, core, and back. And when you give your body a decent opportunity to cool down, it won’t trouble you with aching muscles.
#7 Incorporate Physical Activity in Your Routine
Muscle inactivity is a major cause of muscle pain. It does not mean you are physically inactive, but it refers to a state where the major muscle groups in your body do not get the movement they require to stay healthy. As a result, your muscles grow weak, and you experience muscle pain.
It is best to incorporate physical activity into your routine to eliminate muscle pain due to inadequate activity. After consulting with your primary healthcare provider, go for a moderate workout on most days of the week. You may not always need to go to a gym or work with a trainer, but simple activities like walking and cycling can be a great addition to your routine. With these physical activities, you can enjoy overall fitness and better health, and the best part is you get rid of your aching muscles.
But remember to start slow and gradually increase intensity.
#8 Stay Hydrated
Water is life, but with a busy schedule and hustle-bustle of daily life, most people often delay drinking water until they feel thirsty. Know that by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So drink a lot of fluid and keep your body hydrated. It may not help you get rid of pain directly, but it speeds up the recovery process. Moreover, when your body is hydrated, it also aids in reducing the feeling of muscle soreness.
#9 Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
For muscle pain that can be managed at home, OTC pain medications can be particularly beneficial. While simple analgesics may work for some, others go for NSAIDs like ibuprofen. You can always find several OTC creams and gels that can help you get rid of aching muscles.
You May Need to See a Doctor
Most aches and muscle pains may subside when you incorporate one or more methods highlighted above in your daily schedule. However, often, aching muscles may be an indication of an underlying condition such as Vitamin D deficiency.
It is best to see a doctor if
- Muscle pain is a persistent and frequent occurrence,
- Muscle pain is accompanied by fever, swelling, redness or a rash, or
- You are using some other medication that may lead to muscle pain.
- You are experiencing extreme muscle weakness and
- You are unable to move the affected area of your body.
While most muscle pains and aches are benign, you must see a doctor if it is a persistent concern.
By Sherwin Nicholson | May 4, 2020
Did you know that your gluteus muscles are not only just important for your hips but also your back? It’s not your back muscles that need conditioning as much as it’s your glutes.
If you are finding that you are having chronic, dull or sensitive sensations of pain on the sides of your hips, then it’s most likely those troublesome muscles.
Glute muscle pain is the muscular discomfort that you experience in the rear and sides of your buttock.
When they stop moving and become weaker, you will have problems. But fortunately, there is a natural way to fix it.
What you should know first, so you can self-treat yourself
This muscle group consist of the minimus, medius and maximus.
The gluteus minimus is located underneath the medius. Together with the medius, their role is to abduct the hip and to prevent adduction.
This movement is what rotates your thigh inward. It is the action of raising your thigh up in front of you and turning your foot outward. It is also the action made if you were to try to point your knees towards each other.
The other function is to stabilize the hip joint and to provide support while standing on one leg.
A weakness in these will affect your hip joint, walking gait, pelvic tilt and stability, balance, etc. If untreated, it will lead to hip, lower back and knee issues.
Note: If you have a desk job or must spend a lot of your time driving or sitting for a living, you are bound to be sore. When you sit at your job, all of your glutes have deactivated and their circulation is restricted. With the lack of movement during work, you end up with sore hips that really begin to cause discomfort whenever you need to use them.
Note: Be sure to check if your pain is from your piriformis muscle. It can also cause similar symptoms.
A Simple Test for Weak Glutes
A simple test for weakness is first to stand up straight and place both hands on each hip. Then bend one knee as if to raise your foot slightly off of the ground.
If your suspended side drops slightly to the floor, you have weakness and weakness and pelvic instability. You will notice this more as the hand on the suspended hip lowers below the level of the other hand.
Please note: You can have the opposite problem where your glutes have become so tight and stiff that your hip does not drop but it remains fixed. Try moving your hips up and down. If it is very difficult to do, your hips are both weak and tight. This tightness also causes it to hurt.
The role of the gluteus maximus is to rotate the thigh and leg externally and also to extend it. This is the primary muscle to raise you up from a sitting position and also to lower you.
If your gluteus maximus is weak, you will find it difficult to perform many activities that involve bending at the hip while you are supporting your body weight. Your knees and lower back will compensate for this along with the thigh. Any combination of these other muscle groups will fatigue over time leading to lower back and knees issues.
A sedentary lifestyle significantly contributes to weak gluteal muscles.
Most people will assume that treatment directly for the back muscles and knees are required when it is the hip muscles that are the primary source of dysfunction.
A very helpful and effective exercise for weak glutes is the Standing Hip Shift. This shift combines stretching, strengthening and stabilizing and is great for helping to relieve morning stiffness.
For those with limitations with lower back pain, this exercise can be challenging. If you find it difficult to perform this, then this is an indication of the weaknesses of your hips. Weak hips lead to a very sore back.
Learn Hip Shifting
This simple movement requires the practice of Hip Shifting. Hip shifting aids in the release in very tight, weak lower back and hip muscles. It improves hip mobility and balance.
Those of us with pain have very limited mobility in these areas of the hip and back. It almost feels as if you are locked or frozen in this region of your body. To hip shift is NOT easy but it helps to counteract muscle guarding.
Guarding is necessary when the body tries to immobilize a specific area of the body to prevent further injury to another. This often happens to people with lower back pain. A person with a history of experiencing several episodes of lumbar disc pain (including back spasms) will have muscle guarding issues.
As their pain subsides or becomes more manageable, the muscles that have ‘locked’ can limit movement,
remain tight and stiff.
Locking prevents the healthy and correct motion of your hips. Hip Shifting helps you to retrain your body to release this tension. It releases pressure and stiffness and gives you relief.
If you suffer from lower back pain and find the Standing Knee to Chest difficult to master or perhaps tiring, then you will need to retrain and recondition these muscles prior to performing this movement with a different level of exercises. These helpful preconditioning exercises are available on this site.
All of the movements and stretches required can be found in the program. This includes many specific and targeted Hip Shifting methods required to relieve pain. It is a safe, comfortable and progressive set of exercises this gives your hips much-needed stability and strength. It will reduce pressure and discomfort on the knees and lower back.
If you’re in a lot of discomfort at work while at your desk, follow these 5 simple tips now to feel better.