9 Things You Need to Know About Muscle Soreness

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Here are 9 important things you need to know about muscle soreness:

  1. Causes of Muscle Soreness:
    • Muscle soreness occurs when muscle fibers and the connective tissue around them get damaged during exercise.
    • It can be a result of overexertion, higher intensity workouts, longer workouts, or introducing new exercises to your routine.
  2. Types of Muscle Soreness:
    • Acute muscle soreness: Felt during or immediately after exercise.
    • Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): Peaks 24 to 72 hours after exercise.
  3. Mechanism of Muscle Soreness:
    • DOMS is not caused by lactic acid buildup, as previously believed. It is more likely due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that occur during exercise.
    • The body heals these tears, leading to muscle growth and increased strength.
  4. Duration of Muscle Soreness:
    • Muscle soreness usually begins 12-24 hours after exercise and peaks around 24-72 hours .
    • The pain should start to go away after this time .
  5. Managing Muscle Soreness:
    • Gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts may help minimize muscle soreness .
    • Applying heat immediately after exercising or using moist heat therapy can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.
    • Cold therapy, such as using ice packs or soaking in a cold bath, can reduce swelling and nerve activity.
    • Foam rolling and massages can help relieve muscle soreness and improve muscle performance.
    • Wearing compression garments for 24 hours after exercise can reduce DOMS and speed up recovery.
  6. Hydration and Nutrition:
    • Staying hydrated can help reduce muscle soreness.
    • Some evidence suggests that eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as watermelon, may provide relief from muscle soreness .
    • Milk protein supplementation and arnica creams have also shown promise in treating muscle soreness .
  7. Stretching and Warm-up:
    • Stretching before or after exercise does not lead to a noticeable reduction in muscle soreness .
    • Dynamic stretching, which involves moving muscles and joints, is more beneficial than static stretching.
  8. Continuing Exercise with Muscle Soreness:
    • It is possible to continue exercising with muscle soreness, but it can be uncomfortable
    • If the pain is severe, it is recommended to exercise at a lower intensity or switch to another muscle group for a day or two .
  9. When to Seek Medical Attention:
    • Muscle soreness is normal and rarely requires medical attention.
    • However, if the pain lasts more than a week, keeps coming back, or is accompanied by extreme weakness, dizziness, or trouble breathing, it is advisable to see a doctor.
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