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6 keys to Alleviating Sore Muscles and Muscle Discomfort – PostExercise

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Persistent muscle discomfort following a workout may indicate muscle injury. The Department of Physiotherapy and LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) offers advice on relieving muscle pain.

Addressing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) Post-Workout

Experiencing muscle soreness a day or two after an intense workout is typical, especially when increasing exercise intensity or starting a new physical activity. The delayed onset of muscle aches results from minor injuries to muscle fibers and connective tissue.

DOMS is quite common, particularly for those returning to exercise or engaging in a new activity. It’s just a way that your body is telling you that your muscles need time to recover.

Encouragingly, as your body adapts to the new exercise routine, muscle soreness is likely to diminish.

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Duration of Muscle Pain

Typically, sore muscles from a strenuous workout subside within 24 to 48 hours of rest. However, persistent or intensifying muscle aches after several days of rest may signal a significant muscle injury.

Severe muscle pain during exercise, coupled with breathing difficulty, high fever, muscle weakness, or a stiff neck, warrants a medical consultation.

Related Article: Home Remedies for Common Running Injuries

Tips for Alleviating Muscle Pain and Soreness

  • Ice Pack Application:

    In cases of acute injury or noticeable swelling and warmth in the muscle or joint area, apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for approximately 15 minutes.
    For general muscle soreness without swelling, use a heat pack for 15 minutes to enhance blood circulation.

  • Massage Therapy:

  • Consider a trigger-point or sports massage to relax tight muscles and alleviate muscle aches.

  • Stretching Routine:

    Dedicate about 10 minutes post-workout to stretching exercises to prevent muscle soreness.
    Prior to exercise, warm up the body with simple movements like arm swings, marching on the spot, or gradual walking.

  • Engage in Light Exercises:

    Instead of halting exercise entirely, opt for light activities such as walking or swimming. This helps accelerate the elimination of lactic acid buildup.

  • Gradual Incorporation of Eccentric Exercises:

    Slowly increase the intensity of eccentric exercises to reduce the likelihood of muscle aches. Eccentric contractions involve muscle lengthening under tension.

  • Warm Bath:

    Take a warm bath to loosen tight muscles and enhance blood circulation, offering temporary relief.
    Regarding topical creams, note that while there is little evidence supporting their effectiveness, they may provide distraction from soreness by creating a cooling or heating sensation on the skin.

For comprehensive lifestyle guidance, the LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) boasts a multidisciplinary team of experts ready to assist with weight management, exercise, and diet.

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