Whether you've pushed yourself too hard during a workout, spent long hours hunched over a desk, or just finished a big move, we’ve all dealt with sore muscles and the misery they bring. In this article, we'll explore the various causes of sore muscles and provide you with effective home remedies to help you find relief and get back on track towards a pain-free lifestyle.
What Causes Sore Muscles
Sore muscles, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can be caused by a variety of factors. One common reason behind sore muscles is intense physical activities that your body is not accustomed to, such as starting a new exercise routine or increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts.
These activities cause microscopic damage to muscle fibers, which then triggers an inflammatory response that leads to soreness and stiffness. Other causes behind muscle soreness include:
- Poor posture
- Repetitive movements
- Muscle imbalances
- Muscle overuse
- Virus infection
- Underlying diseases like plantar fasciitis, lung diseases, and damage to the nervous system
- Certain medications
Read More: Why Do My Calves Hurt?
Home Remedies for Sore Muscles
Usually, sore muscle does not require medical attention. Instead, there are plenty of home treatment to relief muscle soreness. Some popular home remedies include:
- Rest and Recovery
- Heat or Cold Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Salt Bath
- Essential Oils
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Rest & Recovery
Resting is your best friend if your muscles are sore. Resting after a heavy work day or an intense workout allows your muscle to recover from the initial strains. Meanwhile, getting sufficient, quality sleep lets your body heal faster.
Heat or Cold Therapy
Both cold and heat therapy can help recover from muscle soreness. Generally, use an ice pack or cold water bottle on your muscle injury during the initial 48 hours, then switch to heat pads for mild soothing afterward.
Gentle stretches can promote blood circulation, help delivering oxygen and nutrients necessary for muscle repair to the injured areas. Stretching also helps relaxing tension and alleviate muscle stiffness. However, you should avoid over-stretching if your muscles are already sore.
Epsom salt contains magnesium, which can be absorbed through the skin during a bath. Magnesium is essential for muscle function and relaxation. Therefore, a nice hot soak after a physically demanding day is always a great solution to minimizing muscle soreness.
Also, epsom salt baths can calm the body and mind, indirectly alleviating muscle tension and soreness associated with stress or anxiety.
Essential oils are great to use during massages or as a quick pain relief remedy. There are plenty of essential oils that can help with muscle soreness, tension, and stress.
Read More: Top 7 Pain Relieving Essential Oils
OTC Pain Relievers
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can provide temporary relief from muscle soreness and reduce inflammation. However, only take pain meds if your pain is extreme. Keep these as your last resort because natural healing and remedies are far healthier than medication.
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
On the long run, building strong muscles while maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the only true solution to muscle soreness. Even if you don’t go to the gym, you should still look into building a workout routine focusing on muscle development.
Common muscles strengthening exercises include:
- Bench Press
- Shoulder Press
- Pull Ups
- Bicep Curls
- Calf Rises
When building your workout routine, ensure to know your limit and start with less intensive workouts. Also, work on no more than two muscle groups a day, and leave ample recovery time (48 hours after every two days of workout, for example) for the best results.
Read More: Muscle Building at Home
How to Prevent Sore Muscles
There are ways to prevent muscle soreness even if you work a physical job. Self care and muscle development are the two core pieces in muscle maintenance. Other than building a workout routine, there are a few more things you can do to prevent sore muscles:
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