Muscle Soreness - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Healthy Living Online

Published on May 02, 2016

Woman holding sore calf muscle

Muscle Soreness: Minimization and Treatment, Pre-and-Post Workout

woman holding sore calf muscleSore muscles are no fun. But the reality is that working out, whether you’re doing cardio or weight training, will cause some muscle soreness. The ideal situation would be to prepare for a rigorous workout to reduce the possibility of fatigued muscles after-the-fact. However, sometimes, we push our bodies to the limit and end up with achy muscles. Below are a few tips on how to minimize and treat muscle pain.

How to Minimize It

If you know you have some difficult training ahead of you, take into consideration preparing with the following:

  • Hydrate Keeping your body hydrated is a good rule of thumb in general. But with workouts, the body perspires and drinking enough water combats dehydration and protects against muscle soreness. It is recommended to drink half an ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then drink 75 ounces of water daily.
  • Stretch – Stretching prepares your muscles for the workout, and helps prevent injuries. Stretching gives your joints and muscles time to warm up.
  • Kinesiology tape – If you are already experiencing some pain, applying kinesiology tape to the area may help to decrease the discomfort. Of course, check with your physician about the proper application and if the use of the tape for your pain is recommended.

How to Treat It

You’ve gone that extra mile. And, now, you can really feel it. Here are some tips to help your body recover:

  • Icing – Placing a bag of ice or an ice pack in the area will help reduce inflammation and soreness.
  • Alternating hot and cold showers – Changing between the two can help to improve blood circulation. The hot showers aid in dilating blood vessels and the cold water helps to reduce the inflammation.
  • Epsom salt bath – When muscles are sore, sometimes all that is needed is a little relaxation. By taking a bath with Epsom salt, you will give your body time to relax as well as release toxins.
  • Adequate post workout nutrition – Replenish your body by eating protein or by drinking a protein shake.
  • Avoid painful activities – If you are really sore, avoid using the same muscles during your workouts. Try to take it easy for a few days or maybe even include one rest day so that your body can recuperate appropriately.

“As with any workout, there will be some soreness to a certain degree – it is all about preparing for it and caring for your body afterwards,” said Andrew Hsiao MD, a PIH Health Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in Sports Medicine. “Once you train your muscles, the soreness should diminish over time.”

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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