You may not always realize, but you run a risk of muscle strain, or even injury, every time you adopt a new exercise regimen or massage therapy.
And if that happens, even simple activities like – dressing up, walking around, and bending turn out to be painful. While professional athletes and sportsmen are often privileged to have access to recovery facilities and equipment like hot tubs, cryotherapy chambers, or electric stimulation, most of us do not have the privilege to afford such gadgets and doctors for treatment.
There are however a few affordable solutions available that can be tried at home. Getting your muscles back to normal may not be a quick process. It may sometimes take a couple of days.
However, in case trouble persists, you should consult a physiotherapist or an orthopaedic surgeon.
Here is what you can do yourself to avoid, and alleviate yourself of the agony:
- Ice packs at the affected region
- A trigger-point or sports massage
- Proper stretching and warm-up before starting exercises
- Stretching your muscles for about 10 minutes after a workout to prevent sore muscles.
- Localized vibrator application, or sitting/ standing on a full body vibrator (usually available in Gyms)
- Light exercises like walking, or swimming – if possible
- Build up eccentric exercises slowly and gradually as eccentric contractions occur when your muscles lengthen under tension.
- A warm bath may loosen muscles and thereby boost blood circulation, providing temporary relief.
- Air-activated heat wrap could also help ease those aching muscles. When muscle temperature increases, your blood flow increases, bringing fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the injured site
What does muscle soreness indicate?
If your condition is acute, be careful – for you might be suffering from something more than a simple muscle soreness. Continued and intense pain in the lumbar region could be a sign of disc dislocation. Intense muscle soreness could also be associated with ligament tear, or be sciatic nerve induced. The typical muscle soreness that happens after a rigorous workout will usually start to wane after rest of a day or so. If muscle aches persist or worsen, consulting a doctor is important.
If you experience muscle pain along with difficulty in breathing, high fever, muscle weakness, and stiff neck, you should visit a doctor immediately.
What precautions can we take?
Altering your exercise regime is very important. If your workouts are intense, it’s important to not exercise the same muscle set again for at least 72 hours. This is why the gym instructors would usually ask you to follow a weekly pattern covering - chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulder and legs – on a specific week day each.
Do please remember - there is a difference between moderate muscle soreness induced by exercises and muscle injury. The latter invariably requires medical help.
It is advisable to stick to a schedule of exercises. If you are about to introduce running as an activity in your schedule after a long period, do not overexert yourself. Following a moderate pace is always advisable.
The key always remains – picking the exercises that are right for your constitution and age, building up gradually, and not going over-board.