Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

How to Relieve Muscle Pain

Dec 7, 2010

Muscle pain develops after engaging in rigorous physical activity that your body is unaccustomed to. You usually get this following a new and more intensive exercise routine, after engaging in sports or activities that extremely strain muscle groups (like mountain climbing or running a marathon), or by overexerting yourself after a long period without regular physical activity. The degree of pain varies according to the kind and length of the activity done.

Intense physical activity strains or tears muscle fibers, which is why they become sore a day or two after. You can avoid, or at least minimize, muscle pain with proper body conditioning before undertaking such activities. However, if your muscles are already screaming in protest following the abuse, here are some tips to help relieve muscle pain.

Massage

Muscles become sore because as your body burned energy during the strenuous activity, there was likely a shortage in oxygen during the process converting glycogen (stored energy) into glucose. Your muscles eventually stiffen because of poor blood circulation. So, your immediate goal is to get your blood flowing right. Massaging the painful areas with slow, even strokes. Applying just enough pressure will help improve circulation and reduce the pain.

Hot and Cold Compress

If you are an athlete, you probably are used to this treatment especially after pushing yourself when training for big events. This also helps if you experience extreme muscle strain. You apply cold compress in the sore area for 10 to 20 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation and relieve pain. Do this every six hours for the next two or three days until the swelling subsides. Then, you can apply a hot compress also for 10 minutes. Heat serves to relax sore muscles and relieves pain.

Stretching

Other quick-relief remedies that may help relieve muscle pain are gently stretching the overworked muscles – also for good circulation – and elevating the areas for at least 30 minutes.

Protein and Carbohydrates

The eventual goal when you experience extreme muscle pain is to heal the ripped muscles and tendons. To repair damaged tissues, you need to rebuild your energy stores, which are depleted after an extreme physical workout. Protein and carbohydrates, which are converted to energy, are essential in building muscle mass, so adding them to your diet immediately after a physical activity will hasten this process and help heal your muscles faster.

Easy Exercises

Just because you have muscle pain does not mean you should altogether stop exercising. In fact, it will help you to go on with your regular routine, but keep things light and easy in the meantime until you have fully recovered. Do easy exercises that use different muscles than those that have been inflamed, because it will counteract the stiffness while supporting those sore parts.

Warm and Cool Baths

Showering alternately using hot and cold water will also help relieve pain, because it helps improve blood circulation. This way, you reduce the swelling and lessen the pain. Exposing the sore areas to hot and cold water relieves pain faster.

Article Comments