Working out hard? Finding yourself feeling a little extra fatigued or sore after your sessions? No two forms of muscle soreness are alike. Some are normal and some are sending you signals about what your body needs.
1. Not All Pain Is The Same
There are two main types of muscle soreness. The first is DOMS, or delayed onset muscle syndrome. The second is a sharp, strong muscle pain that usually follows a quick irritation, sprain, or injury. While DOMS is normal and usually sets in the next day, intense pain that sets in right away is a sign of an injury.
2. Acute Muscle Pain
Some immediate muscle pain can be normal, depending on the intensity of your workout. This usually happens because of the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles as a result of the body trying to get rid of toxins. This type of soreness usually dissipates quickly.
3. No Pain, No Gain
This isn’t something you should strive for, but it’s not necessarily false, either. Whenever you change your routine or add to your weight, you may have increased muscle soreness. You shouldn’t feel acute pain or lose your range of motion, though.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Consider
Scientists are still studying whether or not anti-inflammatory foods can help alleviate muscle soreness when consumed regularly. Foods like watermelon, for example, contain the amino acid L-citrulline. Other foods that may help include ginger, cherry juice, and pineapple.
5. Antioxidant Supplements May Help
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is an incredibly powerful superfood. Studies have shown curcumin to be great at reducing inflammation, leading to decreased muscle pain. Supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids may also have the same type of benefit.
6. Milk Protein As A Natural Supplement
Dairy products are specifically recommended for muscle recovery because of their high protein content. Many are recommended immediately post-workout to help with recovery and to ward off pain and discomfort.
7. Heat Therapy After Exercise
Heat and cold both have their place in the exercise world, but heat therapy immediately after a workout can help you ward off muscle soreness and DOMS. Both dry and damp forms of heat can help bring blood flow to the area, pushing out toxins and increasing circulation.
8. Epsom Salt Therapy
Epsom salt soaks can be considered a form of heat therapy and are great for overall relaxation and muscle recovery. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is both relieving and known for its toxin-moving properties.
9. Cold Therapy
Once you use heat therapy to flush out toxins and improve circulation, you should move to cold therapy. Cold therapy, using ice packs or cool showers, will help decrease the inflammation that leads to muscle and nerve pains. Make sure you always wrap an ice pack in a towel. Applying ice directly to the skin can cause damage.
While muscle soreness is normal, pain is not. If ever in doubt, talk to your doctor to make sure the pain you are experiencing is a sign of a serious injury or disorder.