Have you ever woken up in the morning with sore muscles that make you feel like you were run over by a truck the day before? Sore muscles can be painful and it can occur due to many reasons that revolve majorly around excess pressure on the muscles. If you’re into sports or if you love to go to the gym, you would know the feeling already. When you walk out of the gym after a sweaty day, you may feel all powerful like The Hulk. But reality hits you hard the next day and you may feel like you’ve been bitten by a zombie. But before you dread the thought that you’ll have to wait until the pain goes away on its own, know that there are many home remedies that will help.
Sore muscles occur after a workout or running session because of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). You mostly start experiencing it after a day of exercising and it lasts for almost a week. When you workout or strain your muscles in any way, it creates micro tears within them which is the reason for the inflammation that you feel. By the time these tears are healed by your body, your muscles become much stronger. Until then, here are a few home remedies that will help you cope with the pain.
Once you’re home from the workout, take a warm shower or bath. This will help with the pain and the stiffness of the muscles. The application of heat increases blood flow, reduces swelling, and promotes faster healing. This home remedy is simple, quick, and easy! Use a hot water bag in the areas that hurt or use a hot, wet washcloth whenever you get the time. The effectiveness of heat on sore muscles is scientifically proven. A research that was conducted in 2017 found that the application of heat for eight hours immediately after a workout reduced the intensity of the soreness that occurred
The application of cold to treat muscle soreness is called cryotherapy. The cold doesn’t help in healing but it relieves pain by calming down the nerves that sense pain. A review of 36 studies that were done in 2015 by a group of researchers found that the application of cold helps with the pain associated with DOMS (2). So, stock up on ice packs and fill your trays before your leg days and strength training days at the gym!
Water is always the easiest option for hydration but you may want to consider watermelon juice as a replacement during the painful training sessions. It’s tasty, packed with nutrients, and has multiple benefits for your body and skin. One of the benefits of watermelon is its ability to reduce the soreness that is caused due to intense exercise. The reason why it supports muscle recovery is that it’s a rich source of the amino acid called L-citrulline. There! Now you’ve got another amazing reason to drink the yummy juice (3).
Tart cherry juice is an excellent way to reduce muscle soreness that is associated with DOMS. Drink a glass of this juice every day and you’ll see your muscle pain take a trip down the south. Cherry juice is packed with anthocyanins which are anti-oxidant compounds that ease muscle soreness and discomfort. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also believed to benefit those who experience elevated pain in certain areas after exercising (4).
Did you know that your everyday morning energizing beverage has the magical ability to heal soreness? Yes! You heard it right. A cup of coffee every day before working out can help you stay away from intense soreness and pain. Now you don’t have to feel guilty for drinking too much coffee (5)!
Massages not only feel good but they also boost blood circulation in the area, thereby reducing swelling and pain. If your muscles are already sore, you don’t have to worry but get a good massage. The Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation published a study that found that leg massage reduced the intensity of pain. You walk funny when you have sore muscles in the leg and this study observed that massage will help in bringing it back to normal (6). Imagine walking down the stairs and falling down in front of your colleagues after a painful leg day at the gym! Massages at a spa or from a professional masseuse are almost always expensive but you can always learn how to massage yourself at home.
If you sit at home whining like a little girl, your muscle pain isn’t going to get better. It may sound insanely difficult but you will have to get up and move around to stretch your sore muscles. You may curse us for telling this, but this actually works! Research shows that active movement and stretching helps in relieving pain quicker (7).
After you’ve tried these remedies if you still need some help with the pain, consult a doctor. You may be given anti-inflammatory medication that will help ease the pain further. Do you often experience muscle soreness after exercise? How do you deal with the pain? Share your valuable suggestions with us in the comments section below.