Whether you spent too long working out, took on a hefty home improvement project that was more than you bargained for or sat too long in one position, you may find that your muscles have stiffened and become sore. When that happens, it’s essential that you find a quick, effective way to reduce the pain and loosen those muscles up again. Fortunately, there are several approaches that will give you the relief you seek.
When your muscles are tight and strained, heat will loosen them up and relieve your pain. Climb into a hot tub or shower and let the warm water do its work as it cascades over your body. Alternatively, plug in your heating pad, find a comfortable position and let the warmth penetrate your muscles. You can use the heating pad on a dry setting or apply the moist insert that some heating pads come with to allow you to use damp heat. If you have to be up and about, opt for an adhesive pain patch that provides warmth to the muscles just beneath it.
When you’re in pain, it only makes sense to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Although common logic may tell you to take a couple of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), they will inhibit the production of muscle-healing prostaglandins. That’s why you’re better off to reach for acetaminophen to gain temporary pain relief without interfering with your body’s ability to heal itself.
Sore muscles need rejuvenating moisture and the best way to give that to them is to drink lots of water. If possible, drink water during and after any activity that you anticipate will cause sore muscles. Steer clear of caffeinated drinks and alcohol – both of which cause a loss of fluids and may have a dehydrating effect.
While it may seem that too much stretching is what caused your muscles to be sore in the first place, gentle stretching of sore muscles will help them to loosen up and relax. Avoid stretching to the point of pain or bouncing during the stretch. Instead, stretch each area slowly and gently to restore mobility, ease spasms and lessen pain.
Get a Massage
When you have sore muscles, you may need outside help to calm them down and find relief. Opt for a massage to increase blood flow to the area and help your muscles begin to heal themselves. If possible, schedule an appointment with a professional masseuse for the best results. When that’s not an option, enlist a friend or loved one to gently massage hard-to-reach muscles or use your own talents to massage your aching muscles yourself.
While preventing sore muscles in the first place is preferable, almost everyone occasionally finds that they’ve overextended themselves and inadvertently ended up with aching muscles. When that happens, instead of suffering in silence, take the appropriate steps to gain the relief you deserve and pamper your muscles with the proper treatment until they’ve stopped protesting.