How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn’t)

Sore muscles can occur any time you exercise in a new way that your body isn’t used to, or when you increase the intensity of your usual workouts.

Here’s what you need to know about why your muscles feel sore and how to relieve soreness.

Why do muscles get sore?

There are two types of muscle soreness: acute and delayed onset.

Acute muscle soreness happens during the activity — say if the exercise is too intense or you’re using bad form — and is an indication you should stop immediately because it could lead to muscle or joint damage, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), on the other hand, sets in about 12 to 24 hours after exercise. It’s why you feel so sore the morning after a workout. These sore muscles usually last one to three days, though it can take up to 10 days for soreness to resolve completely. And while DOMS may hurt, it can be helpful for muscle repair.

As you’re working out, your muscle fibers may tear slightly. Those tiny muscle tears lead to hypertrophy, which means the muscle cells get bigger, says Julia Iafrate, DO, an assistant professor of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Once you let the muscle fibers recover, the muscle ends up stronger than it was before.

Just make sure you don’t work out those muscles before they’re done healing — trying to perform intense exercise on sore muscles can result in further pain or even injury.

How to get rid of sore muscles

While there’s no way to speed up the body’s muscle repair process, you can treat or reduce the symptoms of soreness in a few ways:

  • Applying ice to the muscle. Applying a ThermaCare cold wrap to the muscle immediately after exercise or 24 hours later helped reduce pain, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Iafrate suggests combining cold therapy with massage: for example, she recommends freezing a Dixie cup of water, removing the paper cup once frozen, and massaging the muscle with the ice for five to 10 minutes.
  • Foam rolling. This involves massaging a muscle on top of a foam roller in order to relieve muscle tightness. When it’s done post-exercise, it decreases muscle pain and improves muscle strength recovery, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training. For best results, Iafrate recommends foam rolling after all of your usual workouts.
  • Resting the sore muscles. Iafrate recommends mixing up the muscle groups you work and giving sore muscles a chance to completely recover before exercising them again. “Light activity is totally fine — you just need to change up the muscle groups you’re working so you give the muscles time to rest a little bit and rehabilitate on their own and heal before they get stressed again,” Iafrate says.
  • Staying hydrated. According to a 2005 study published in Journal of Athletic Training that involved working out in 104-degree heat, dehydrated study participants reported nearly 7% higher pain scores in their quadriceps 24 and 48 hours post-exercise compared to study participants who stayed hydrated. And while you probably won’t be working out at such high temperatures, the downsides of dehydration carry over — if you want quicker muscle recovery, it’s important to drink lots of water.
  • Drinking coffee before the workout. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that ingesting 5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight immediately before a workout led to less muscle soreness two and three days later. That’s the equivalent of about one to two 8-ounce cups of coffee for someone who is 150 pounds. Just make sure you don’t get too jittery from the caffeine — some trainers recommend green or black tea if coffee doesn’t sit right with you.
  • Trying acupuncture. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy found acupuncture after a workout can reduce acute muscle soreness by half and DOMS by one-third.

You may also be tempted to pop an anti-inflammatory medication — like Advil or Aleve — until the soreness subsides, but Iafrate warns this could delay muscle repair.

“If the inflammation is too much to bear, then sure, take an Aleve, but it’s not something you want to do continuously,” she says. “You actually need that inflammation in order to heal.”

When to see your doctor for muscle soreness

Run-of-the-mill soreness doesn’t warrant a doctor’s visit. “But there’s a fine line of what’s too much soreness,” Iafrate says.

Soreness can feel achy, while a muscle strain, which is more serious, may be accompanied by swelling, bruising, and pain, according to Harvard Health.

Iafrate says if your soreness lasts longer than a week, it could indicate something concerning. As long as you have a safe workout regimen, the risk is low for these conditions, but they may occur:

  • Ruptured muscle or tendon. Iafrate says that this will be accompanied by severe pain, out of proportion to what you’re accustomed to, and inability for the muscle to function.
  • Muscle contusion. This presents as a bruise, but it can cause deep tissue damage if it’s severe, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

You’ll also want to take debilitating pain, swollen limbs, or darker-than-normal urine as a sign to seek medical attention, according to the ACSM. Iafrate suggests seeing a primary care physician or a sports medicine specialist if you’re concerned about muscle pain.

Cassie White and Olivia Willis for Life Matters

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

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Exercise is really, really important.

You only have to look at what happens when you don’t do it to see why.

But physical activity also comes with its fair share of aches and pains — and there’s no denying that sometimes it can hurt.

If we were to stop working out at the first sign of discomfort, however, we’d probably never do any exercise at all.

So when it comes to keeping fit, when do you tell yourself to stop griping and keep going — and when should you actually rest?

Discomfort versus pain

Carly Ryan, exercise physiologist at Exercise and Sports Science Australia, says it’s important to differentiate between “pain” and “discomfort” when working up a sweat.

“Effort and discomfort go together and that’s what most people would call good pain — you generally expect to feel some level of discomfort,” Ms Ryan explains.

“If it becomes actual pain — burning or stabbing or sharp — that’s not a good sign and you should stop.”

Dr Nathan Johnson, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Sydney, says while discomfort from feeling fatigue during exercise is normal, acute pain associated with injury or illness is not.

“If you’re feeling joint or musculoskeletal pain, or anything associated with chest pain, then that’s an indication to stop exercising immediately,” Dr Johnson says.

Knowing the difference

Both Ms Ryan and Dr Johnson agree the easiest way to tell if you are feeling pain or discomfort is to just cease the exercise.

“A little bit of a burn that goes away when your muscles stop working is often just a result of the exercise, so it’s OK to continue,” Ms Ryan says.

“But if it continues and you’re getting, say, a sharp pain in your knees or you feel a painful twinge in your hamstrings that affects your ability to keep moving, then it’s most likely pain because you’ve overdone it, so you need to stop.”

Top tips for staying injury-free

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

A physiotherapist’s top tips for staying injury-free as you work towards 2017 fitness goals.

What is ‘good pain’?

Good pain — or discomfort — according to sport and exercise physician Dr Andrew Jowett, reflects positive change in the body, and is part of the body’s adaption to an activity or physical load.

“What we know about muscle adaption to [physical] loads is that when you put it under load or under stress, you actually cause microscopic injury to the muscle,” Dr Jowett says.

“That injury stimulates muscle healing and hopefully replication of muscle fibres and ultimately strengthening.

“So that’s the good sort of pain we’re after out of any workout — to prevent injuries or to improve our performance.”

The chairman of Sports Medicine Australia says what’s important is that you give your body some time to recuperate.

“So backing up a load straight afterwards or the next day, you might go down the slope and cause further damage that you don’t improve from,” he says.

Health in your inbox

Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC.

Lactic acid

One of the most common forms of pain or discomfort we feel during strenuous exercise is a burning sensation in our lungs or muscles that goes away shortly after we cease the activity. This is caused by a build-up of lactic acid.

Lactic acid is a by-product of the process your body goes through when it needs to create energy more quickly than it normally does, such as when you exercise.

Your working muscles usually generate energy aerobically (i.e. using oxygen), but when you push yourself during a workout and sufficient oxygen isn’t available, these muscles start generating energy anaerobically, and lactic acid is a by-product of this process.

The harder you work, the bigger the build-up of lactic acid. The fitter you are, however, the better your body will be at clearing the lactic acid, so eventually you’ll be able to train harder for longer.

Serious athletes train to push through intense burning, but Ms Ryan says for us mere mortals, continue as long as you’re able to breathe regularly and aren’t feeling any pain in your joints or sharp twinges in your muscles.

“We want people to push themselves a little bit outside of their comfort zone, but if it’s starting to feel wrong and you’re questioning it, then you’re better off stopping and seeking the advice of an appropriately qualified exercise professional,” she says.

How to correct your fitness technique

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

Simple exercises done wrong can cause a great deal of damage.

Delayed onset muscle soreness

If you’ve ever done a gruelling workout after you’ve had some time off from exercise, chances are you were feeling a bit sore and sorry for yourself a few days after.

This is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and is your body’s way of letting you know you’ve done something it’s not used to.

“It should ease off over the next couple of days, but if it doesn’t and you’re finding it hard to sit or move, it probably suggests you’ve done too much,” Ms Ryan explains.

Although sitting on the couch until it goes away is appealing, the best way to overcome DOMS is with light exercise.

“A gentle walk or swim — with less intensity than what caused the DOMS — will reduce the pain and speed up the recovery process,” Ms Ryan says.

“The blood flow to your muscles will help them repair and improve flexibility and mobility.”

Preventing pain

Getting the level of exercise just right to prevent excessive discomfort might take a bit of trial and error.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, if it feels like it’s too much for your body, just ease off,” Ms Ryan says.

“It’s completely normal to do a slightly modified move or less than what you’ve been instructed to do, if you’re in a class. You’ll still get great benefits without doing the whole range of movement.”

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

“This is going to hurt tomorrow.” We’ve all said it after a particularly grueling workout or return to the gym after an extended break.

Delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly referred to as DOMS, describes the muscular pain and stiffness that occurs following a heavy workload. It typically peaks around 24 to 48 hours after leaving the gym, explains exercise physiologist Matt Unthank, CSCS, director of training for Crossover Symmetry. “While the process is complicated and remains to be entirely understood, it is widely viewed as an inflammatory response due to a breakdown in muscles tissue.”

But that breakdown’s not necessarily a bad thing. “For a fit person who exercises regularly, I would actually view the occasional attack of DOMS as a good thing,” says Unthank. “It suggests an elevation in intensity and the inclusion of novel movements to a workout program, both of which are extremely good things for a training program.” After all, for your muscles to repair, grow and become stronger, you first have to give them something to repair. And we’re talking about the same microscopic tears in the muscles that can leave you waddling the morning after your workout.

So how can you kill the pain without killing your results? Just turn to these five research-proven strategies.

5 Ways to Reduce Muscle Soreness, STAT

1. Eating Tart Cherries

The science: Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that marathoners consuming tart cherry juice five days before, on the day of, and 48 hours following their races reduced muscle soreness. And how’s this for the cherry on top? The athletes also showed signs of improved muscle recovery and function. Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, colorful antioxidant compounds that are believed to work their magic by decreasing excess inflammation.

Try it: “Under regular training conditions, good nutrition is enough to get antioxidants where they need to be,” Unthank says. But for an extra boost, you can work tart cherries, or just their juice, into your regular diet. A couple of servings per week, along with a generally nutrient-rich diet, is plenty during typical training. However, if you are gearing up for marathon, it can be beneficial to switch to a once-daily plan. Don’t like cherries? Red raspberries are another great source.

2. Drinking Coffee

The science: Multiple studies show that pre-workout caffeine consumption can reduce subsequent muscle soreness and fatigue. In one study published in the Journal of Pain, the strategy scored exercisers a 48 percent drop in DOMS. Apart from generally making everything better, caffeine has analgesic (pain-killing properties), which is why it is commonly contained in over-the-counter pain medications.

Try it: An hour before a particularly grueling workout, drink two cups of coffee (the amount of caffeine used in the Journal of Pain study). Bonus: 2014 PLOS ONE research shows that coffee hydrates as well as water, which is important to keep in mind when trying to combat muscle pain. Getting dehydrated during your workouts can significantly exacerbate symptoms of DOMS, according to the Journal of Athletic Training.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

While health experts are praising the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine as a very good thing, it’s no secret that there are some side effects, albeit usually mild ones.

Common ones include pain and swelling at the site of the injection, as well as fatigue, headache, chills and occasionally a low-grade fever, according to doctors.

Fortunately, those side effects don’t last long and there are some easy ways to manage them. Here’s what to expect — and what you can do.

Soreness at the site of the injection

While a sore arm after a shot is typically no big deal, it can still be annoying.

First, the good news: That soreness is a sign that your body is developing an immune response to the vaccine, which is the entire reason for getting the shot in the first place, right? (That said, some people don’t experience soreness at all — that doesn’t meant the vaccine isn’t working for them.)

To treat the pain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests applying a “clean, cool, wet washcloth” to the site of the injection. Doctors told TODAY that warm compresses can also help.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

When should the public expect an FDA-approved vaccine for kids?

Another tip? Stay active.

“Try to move your arm,” said Dr. Allison Agwu, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics who specializes in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Staying still will just increase muscle soreness.”

While many people opt to get shots in their non-dominant arm, Agwu said she actually prefers to get shots in her dominant arm because she knows she’ll be more likely to move it throughout the day, which helps minimize any soreness.

Muscle aches

A sore arm is common after many shots, but some people are also feeling soreness throughout their entire body after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“A few people mentioned to me that they felt like they just did a high interval impact training,” said Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and an infectious diseases expert at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Their muscles felt sore. And not just at the site of the injection.”

If that’s the case, do whatever you’d ordinarily do to treat achy muscles. Drink lots of water and rest. A warm bath with Epsom salts can help, too.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

New Plan Your Vaccine tool lets you plan your appointment online

Fatigue, fever and headaches

For a fever, the CDC recommends people drink lots of fluids and dress lightly. Rest and relaxation is the answer for fatigue and tiredness. Many doctors suggest people avoid scheduling their vaccine appointment before a busy day, so they’re able to rest if they feel sluggish afterward. (Symptoms are often the most pronounced the next day, so keep that in mind.)

Dr. Daniel Griffin, head of infectious diseases for ProHEALTH, said people should also try to make sure they’re feeling OK before they get their vaccine.

“We’ve noticed health care workers in particular who are working long hours, not taking great care of themselves, they’re dehydrated, hungry — that’s not a great situation to be in to go get vaccinated,” he said. “Get a good night’s sleep. Get something to eat and drink. If you go in to get your vaccine feeling pretty good, then you’re going to feel better after.”

There’s been some confusion over whether it’s safe to take over-the-counter painkillers before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. On TODAY Friday, Dr. Vin Gupta clarified the guidance, explaining that people should avoid taking painkillers before getting the vaccine, but saying that it’s OK to take something afterward if symptoms develop.

“Between Tylenol and Motrin, I would recommend going with Tylenol,” he said. “We think that’s going to interfere less with the antibody response, the antibody production, after your immune system sees the vaccine.”

As Agwu put it, “If you need to take something for your headache, then by all means, please do that.”

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

‘Best vaccine is the one that’s available to you first,’ doctor says

When to seek help

Side effects shouldn’t last longer than 48 hours after getting the shot, and they often fade sooner than that. But if you’re experiencing side effects days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, contact a doctor.

There is one exception: While redness at the site of an injection immediately after a vaccine is common, some people are reporting a mild rash that appears on the arm a full week after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Typically, it’s not something to worry about and will go away in a few days, doctors said. If necessary, Griffin said people could take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl.

Maldonado also wants people to know what aren’t potential side effects of the vaccine — namely, a cough, shortness of breath or chest pain.

“Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and the vaccine overlap: headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, fever to a certain extent,” she said. “But shortness of breath and chest pain are not symptoms you get after the vaccine. If you have those symptoms, contact your health care provider.”

Experts are urging anyone who is nervous about the vaccine to remember that any side effects from the vaccine pale in comparison to a case of the coronavirus.

“It’s a small price to pay for the knowledge that now your chance of dying from COVID is almost completely taken away,” Griffin said.

Rheana Murray is a senior lifestyle reporter for TODAY Digital at NBC News. She writes about health and wellness, parenting, style, news and more.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

While health experts are praising the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine as a very good thing, it’s no secret that there are some side effects, albeit usually mild ones.

Common ones include pain and swelling at the site of the injection, as well as fatigue, headache, chills and occasionally a low-grade fever, according to doctors.

Fortunately, those side effects don’t last long and there are some easy ways to manage them. Here’s what to expect — and what you can do.

Soreness at the site of the injection

While a sore arm after a shot is typically no big deal, it can still be annoying.

First, the good news: That soreness is a sign that your body is developing an immune response to the vaccine, which is the entire reason for getting the shot in the first place, right? (That said, some people don’t experience soreness at all — that doesn’t meant the vaccine isn’t working for them.)

To treat the pain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests applying a “clean, cool, wet washcloth” to the site of the injection. Doctors told TODAY that warm compresses can also help.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

When should the public expect an FDA-approved vaccine for kids?

Another tip? Stay active.

“Try to move your arm,” said Dr. Allison Agwu, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics who specializes in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Staying still will just increase muscle soreness.”

While many people opt to get shots in their non-dominant arm, Agwu said she actually prefers to get shots in her dominant arm because she knows she’ll be more likely to move it throughout the day, which helps minimize any soreness.

Muscle aches

A sore arm is common after many shots, but some people are also feeling soreness throughout their entire body after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“A few people mentioned to me that they felt like they just did a high interval impact training,” said Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and an infectious diseases expert at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Their muscles felt sore. And not just at the site of the injection.”

If that’s the case, do whatever you’d ordinarily do to treat achy muscles. Drink lots of water and rest. A warm bath with Epsom salts can help, too.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

New Plan Your Vaccine tool lets you plan your appointment online

Fatigue, fever and headaches

For a fever, the CDC recommends people drink lots of fluids and dress lightly. Rest and relaxation is the answer for fatigue and tiredness. Many doctors suggest people avoid scheduling their vaccine appointment before a busy day, so they’re able to rest if they feel sluggish afterward. (Symptoms are often the most pronounced the next day, so keep that in mind.)

Dr. Daniel Griffin, head of infectious diseases for ProHEALTH, said people should also try to make sure they’re feeling OK before they get their vaccine.

“We’ve noticed health care workers in particular who are working long hours, not taking great care of themselves, they’re dehydrated, hungry — that’s not a great situation to be in to go get vaccinated,” he said. “Get a good night’s sleep. Get something to eat and drink. If you go in to get your vaccine feeling pretty good, then you’re going to feel better after.”

There’s been some confusion over whether it’s safe to take over-the-counter painkillers before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. On TODAY Friday, Dr. Vin Gupta clarified the guidance, explaining that people should avoid taking painkillers before getting the vaccine, but saying that it’s OK to take something afterward if symptoms develop.

“Between Tylenol and Motrin, I would recommend going with Tylenol,” he said. “We think that’s going to interfere less with the antibody response, the antibody production, after your immune system sees the vaccine.”

As Agwu put it, “If you need to take something for your headache, then by all means, please do that.”

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

‘Best vaccine is the one that’s available to you first,’ doctor says

When to seek help

Side effects shouldn’t last longer than 48 hours after getting the shot, and they often fade sooner than that. But if you’re experiencing side effects days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, contact a doctor.

There is one exception: While redness at the site of an injection immediately after a vaccine is common, some people are reporting a mild rash that appears on the arm a full week after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Typically, it’s not something to worry about and will go away in a few days, doctors said. If necessary, Griffin said people could take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl.

Maldonado also wants people to know what aren’t potential side effects of the vaccine — namely, a cough, shortness of breath or chest pain.

“Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and the vaccine overlap: headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, fever to a certain extent,” she said. “But shortness of breath and chest pain are not symptoms you get after the vaccine. If you have those symptoms, contact your health care provider.”

Experts are urging anyone who is nervous about the vaccine to remember that any side effects from the vaccine pale in comparison to a case of the coronavirus.

“It’s a small price to pay for the knowledge that now your chance of dying from COVID is almost completely taken away,” Griffin said.

Rheana Murray is a senior lifestyle reporter for TODAY Digital at NBC News. She writes about health and wellness, parenting, style, news and more.

Hello, stairs. I will not be climbing you today.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

Whether you skipped a few days (okay fine, a few weeks) at the gym before making your triumphant return or decided to try out a new HIIT class instead of your usual yoga routine, you may have experienced that dreaded muscle soreness 24 hours later. (Yeah, as in, even putting on your shoes or standing up from the couch made you groan.)

FYI: What you’re feeling is officially known as DOMS, or delayed-onset muscle soreness. “[DOMS] is basically the result of microtrauma to the muscle and surrounding tissue that provokes an inflammatory response,” says Rachel Straub, M.S., a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-author of Weight Training Without Injury, “which inevitably increases the perception of pain.”

The good news: the aches and pains are fleeting—it typically takes less than a week to go away, says Straub. But you can generally avoid post-workout muscle soreness by taking the right precautions.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

How to prevent muscle soreness

Some people live for the ache of DOMS to prove that they actually worked their ass off during a workout. But instead of focusing on pain to prove your success—since it could mean you’re not giving your body enough time to build up to your fitness goals—focus on the fact that you’re slowly but surely able to lift more weight or run for longer without getting winded, says NASM-certified personal trainer James Shapiro.

Try these strategies to limit post-workout soreness:

1. Up your intensity gradually. If you work out longer and harder AND boost the intensity of your workout each time, DOMS becomes somewhat inevitable, says Straub. Instead, make things more challenging little by little. If you’re lifting weights, for example, opt for either moving up in sets and reps with lower weights, or increasing the weight but not the reps. “Upping the intensity slowly will help keep muscle soreness to more tolerable levels,” notes Straub.

And if you’re sore all the time, consider adding in another rest day, recommends Shapiro.

2. Listen to your body—not your workout buddy’s. You and your workout buddy may be #swolemates, but that doesn’t mean you have identical fitness abilities and experience. You might get sore, while your friend feels totally fine, says Straub. Frustrating, right? Consider this your friendly reminder to listen to your body when exercising and not someone else’s, she recommends.

3. Give your body some TLC. Don’t neglect to pamper those hard-working muscles. Use a foam roller and stretch after your workout, recommends Shapiro.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

That said, don’t use this as an excuse to halt all movement—or take a multi-day Netflix-and-chill break. “Activity seems to speed recovery, while inactivity seems to delay it. or at least make you more aware of it,” says certified personal trainer Cary Raffle. So try making active recovery—like taking a long walk or yoga class—a regular part of your routine.

4. Don’t skip the cool down. “Studies show that performing 10 minutes of low-intensity cardio is on level with self-reports as a stretching session,” says Shapiro. This could mean a jog that’s slower than your usual running pace, pedaling on a stationary bike at an easy clip, or even walking on the treadmill.

5. Stretch before bedtime. Remember how a lack of movement ups DOMS? Well, unless you really toss and turn throughout the night, shuteye equals remaining still AF for an extended period of time. “Stretching prior to sleep can improve blood flow, which aids in the delivery of nutrients to damaged areas,” Shapiro adds. Try some classic yoga stretches like forward fold, seated twist, or downward dog right before you head to bed.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

How to treat muscle soreness

Sometimes, it just can’t be helped—a class is a notch harder than expected, or you amp up your workout’s intensity a bit too dramatically. And that can leave your muscles groaning.

Try these tips to rid yourself of the ache:

1. Rest sore spots—but don’t skip exercise entirely. There’s a reason people alternate between leg and arm days. “Most muscles require 48 to 72 hours to recover,” says Straub. Sore glutes? Wait a few days to do the routine that got them aching, she recommends. The consequences of skipping a break can be serious. “If you do not give the muscle sufficient time to recover, you can strain that muscle (which can put you out for weeks, or even months),” says Straub.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

But don’t let muscle soreness stand in the way of your workout: Again, continued exercise is one of the best treatment for DOMS. “If you are sore, exercise helps increase blood flow which removes waste products and increases endorphins,” says Straub.

The key is to dial down the intensity on your go-to workout so that you stay moving but don’t push your muscles too much, she advises.

2. Heat it up. In the past, most fitness professionals recommended RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) as the best way to east post-workout muscle soreness, explains Shapiro.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)

But now, the experts are recommending heat therapy instead since it can increase circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues, explains Shapiro. So go ahead and grab that heating blanket or take a hot bath to ease your aching muscles.

After a grueling triathlon, Get-Fit Guy uses these 3 tricks to get rid of muscle soreness.

How to get rid of sore muscles fast (what works and what doesn't)Just a few days ago, I participated in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii…

…and boy, am I ever sore!

So what does a fitness guru do to bounce back as fast as possible from soreness (especially when he wants to enjoy a few good days on the Hawaiian beaches)? Here are the most effective methods I’ve been using lately (and here’s how to know whether you should actually feel sore after your workout):

  1. Hot-Cold Contrast Showers: These increase blood flow and help to shuttle inflammation out of muscle. Just take a 5 minute shower, and alternate between 20 seconds cold and 10 second hot. See also How to Use Cold Weather to Lose Weight.
  2. Curcumin: In high doses, this tasty ancient Indian spice is actually a potent anti-inflammatory. I take over a gram a day for several days after a really hard workout. I use a capsule, since using that much curry on food would be a bit much! And I definitely avoid ibuprofen – here’s why.
  3. Massage: Since it can be time consuming and expensive, I rarely go out of my way to hunt down a long sports massage. But after a very hard workout or race, I make an exception. Just one good massage can make an enormous difference, and is far more effective than a foam roller if you really, truly are beat up – (since a foam roller takes quite a bit of energy to use properly).

If you liked this information, check out these other 6 sore muscle remedies.

Do you have questions about how to get rid of soreness fast? What about your own soreness beating tips to contribute? Then leave a comment over at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!

About the Author

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

You work hard all week, so when the weekend finally rolls around, you want to play just as hard. There’s nothing like a few rounds of golf, a hike in the mountains, or an intense workout at the gym to help you feel recharged.

But all of that exercise can cause soreness and stiffness that shows up a day or two later. Don’t get sidelined by muscle pain. Find out the causes and treatments so you can stay on your game.

What’s Causing My Sore Muscles?

It’s normal to have sore muscles after you work out, play sports, or even do housework, especially if:

  • You did something you’re not used to, like running a marathon when you normally jog just a few miles.
  • You suddenly kicked up your exercise intensity level or increased the length of your workout.
  • You did unusual exercises that lengthen instead of shorten your muscle, like walking downhill or extending your arm during a bicep curl.

These changes to your exercise routine can lead to tiny injuries in your muscle fibers and connective tissue. About a day later, you’ll start to feel sore.

“We call that ‘delayed onset’ muscle soreness,” says Ethel Frese, PT, associate professor of physical therapy at St. Louis University. “It peaks within about 48 hours, and then it will gradually get better.”

The good news is that when you do the same activity again, your muscles will start to get used to it. “You will actually have no soreness or less soreness because now you’ve strengthened the muscle or connective tissue,” says Allan H. Goldfarb, PhD. He’s a professor and exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

What’s Causing My Joint Pain?

When your joints feel sore and achy, that’s usually a sign of osteoarthritis. This inflammatory condition becomes more common as you get older. The cartilage that normally cushions the joints wears away, leaving the joints inflamed and painful.

Joint pain can also be caused by overuse or injury, for example, tennis elbow or a knee injury caused by problem with a ligament or meniscus. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones in your body. A meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions your knee.

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Treating Sore Muscles and Joint Pain

One big question a lot of people have when they’re nursing sore muscles is whether to use heat or ice. Experts say indirect ice — an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel — is best for immediate relief.

“Heat will feel good while it’s on, but it’s not going to lessen the damage or make it go away anytime soon,” Frese says.

Goldfarb suggests you ice the sore area right after the activity to cut inflammation. Then use heat later to increase blood flow to the area. Heat also can help relieve joint pain.

If you get sore muscles once in a while, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)to help ease the discomfort. Just be cautious about using NSAIDs regularly. Long-term use can interfere with your muscle’s ability to repair itself, Goldfarb says.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist about any interactions these over-the-counter drugs may have with other medications you take. Also, you may need to avoid some medications if you have ulcers, kidney disease, liver disease, or other conditions.

Sometimes soothing sore muscles requires more than an ice pack or over-the-counter pain reliever. Muscle pain that comes on quickly and feels intense is a sign that you’ve injured yourself. Call your doctor if your pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days.

How Do I Prevent Sore Muscles and Joint Pain?

Experts used to recommend stretching before a workout to prevent sore muscles. But research shows that stretching ahead of time doesn’t do much to prevent soreness or injury. Frese says it’s better to get in a good warm-up before you exercise. Stretch later, when your muscles are already warm.

A couple of natural substances are touted for preventing sore muscles, including antioxidants like vitamin C. But check with your doctor before taking high doses of any vitamin. Serious exercisers might find relief from post-workout soreness by taking in some protein. A study of marines found that protein supplements helped sore muscles after intense exercise.

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Ease Into Exercise and Check With Your Doctor

One of the best ways to prevent sore muscles is by easing your way into your exercise routine.

“Start off with lighter exercise and gradually build up,” Frese says.

If you have a medical condition or you’re unsure about your health, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. He can help you find an exercise routine that’s safe and effective for you.

When you have joint pain, you may be tempted to curl up in bed. One of the best things you can do for your joints, though, is to exercise. “Our joints need to move to get nutrition,” Frese says. Weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the joint. Just watch that you don’t exercise to the point of pain.

It also can help to work with a physical therapist, who can show you how to exercise safely and how to keep good posture so that you don’t get injured or worsen joint pain.

Sources

Ethel Frese, PT, DPT, CCS, associate professor of physical therapy, St. Louis University.

Allan H. Goldfarb, PhD, FACSM, professor, exercise physiologist, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Anderson, J. Journal of Athletic Training, July-September 2005.

Connolly, D. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, September 2006.

Flakoll, P. Journal of Applied Physiology, March 2004.

Herbert, R. and de Noronha, M. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 2007.

How To Treat Sore Muscles Naturally

In this article, we will discuss how to treat sore muscles naturally. It is very usual that either because of overwork or underuse, many of us face the problem of muscle aches and joint pains. Muscle soreness and muscle aches cause generally because of micro-tears in the muscles. Many of us keep on working for long hours without noticing that these long working hours can cause us many health issues as well including sore muscles also.

Micro tears are the slight tears of the muscle fibers that generally do not cause any major injury, in fact, make the muscles stronger. They are the cause of muscle soreness happens because of the overexertion of the muscles or is the result of exercise. With more exercise, the muscles in the body rebuild stronger and cause pain and soreness.

We know that there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction after a long tough workout because we know that the same will give the satisfactory result as well. But there is another thing that accompanies you with that satisfaction and that is muscle soreness.

Here, we will tell you that just by understanding the causes of muscle pain, one can not only prevent it from happening but can also alleviate it easily by using some easy and good home remedies.

What causes Body Aches?

Body aches are usually harmless and caused because of some medical conditions. Some of the common causes of body aches are:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Insufficient Sleep
  • Pneumonia
  • Microbial infections
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Certain Medication
  • Exercise, injury or overuse.
  • Fluid Retention
  • Hypokalemia
  • Autoimmune Disorders.

Home Remedies for Sore Muscles

Here are some of the easiest natural remedies for sore muscles that will help you to get rid of sore muscles and muscle stiffness.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV relieves pain and inflammation because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Raw or organic ACV is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic that has powerful enzymes and minerals. It has several health benefits including muscles aches and sore muscles. Bathing with ACV is one of the easiest and best ways to find relief from sore muscles.

Simply fill your bathtub with and water and add 2 cups of ACV to it. Soak yourself or the particular area in warm water mixed with ACV for at least 20-30 minutes. Now massage that area and relax.

2. Ginger Compress

A ginger compress works wonders for muscle pains, strains, bruises, and many other issues. You can use ginger roots or powdered ginger as both are effective. By adding some cinnamon powder to it, you can make it warmer.

Its soothing properties are not only effective for stomach problems but also for pain and sore muscles. Take a small piece of ginger, one cup of water and some honey. Now add ginger to the cup of water and boil it for 5 minutes and strain it. Add some honey to it and consume this tea. Consume this tea at least thrice a day.

3. Mustard Oil to Treat Sore Muscles

Mustard Oil is used for cooking, massaging, as a mosquito repellant and has several other health benefits also. It is a powerful antibacterial agent and killed off harmful bacteria. Also, it decreases inflammation so it is used to treat arthritis, soothe aches and pains. According to studies, it works against certain pain receptors and blocks the pain signals.

Take some mustard oil and massage it all over the body and leave it for half-an-hour. After that take a shower with warm water and then wipe yourself and sit under sunlight for another half-an-hour. Repeat this daily until you get relief.

4. Cherries to Treat Sore Muscles

Cherries have antioxidants and helpful for those who exercise and experience muscle pain or sore muscles. A glass of cherry juice after exercise can reduce muscle pain and soreness. Another benefit of cherry juice is that it reduces the muscle strength that often lost after strenuous exercise.

Take one glass of unsweetened cherry juice and consume it daily the effective results. It reduces the pain and is used of treating the muscle pain and other body aches as well.

5. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is found in England and it is named after a place in England called “Epsom”. There it is found in natural springs and usually, it is found in most of the drugstores and also in many grocery and food stores as well.

You can use it by dissolving it into the water, where, it breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. According to the studies, when you soak in Epsom salt added to water, it gets into your body and loosen stiff joints and can help you relax your muscles. As it is rich I magnesium so it provides instant relief from sore muscles and body aches.

6. Hot Pepper Rubs

Hot peppers contain Capsaicin that produces burn in them is used to relieve arthritis, joint, and muscle pain and muscle soreness. You can make it at home just by mixing a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one cup of warm coconut or olive oil.

Now use this mixture to massage the affected area. Before that apply it to a small area just to check. This is not for everyone because it may make you uncomfortable. After applying wash your hands properly and keep it away from your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid the irritation.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed how to treat sore muscles naturally. We all know that body aches are irritating and can be tiring in the long run. It is necessary to treat them immediately with these home remedies and tips discussed above in this post. Also, if your body ache is not getting cured even after using these remedies than you must visit your doctor to treat sore muscles.