- Dr. Gregory Giasson DC, MSACN, MS
Managing Sore Muscles
Some muscle soreness after activities is normal as long as it is not an intense ache and does not last longer than a few days. Here are a couple of easy ways to help reduce muscle aches and pains:
· Ice is the best choice for injured muscles. Use ice packs with at least one towel layer between the pack and your body. Without lying on top of the ice, gently rest it on the affected area for no more than fifteen minutes. This treatment can be repeated every two hours as needed. Be careful if you are diabetic, have any serious injuries or sensory loss in the area. Something as simple as applying an ice pack can be dangerous in these situations. It is always best to consult your doctor if you are uncertain.
· Menthol based pain relieving patches and gels can produce similar results as ice by reducing inflammation and swelling. Be sure to follow the labeled instructions.
· Applying creams with arnica or boswellia can aid in muscle recovery and reduce bruising. These compounds are natural anti-inflammatories and are great for healing. Again, be sure to follow the application instructions.
· Just work it out. A muscle should be soft and springy. If your muscles feel hard try working on them with the back of a spoon, tennis ball, rolling pin or golf ball. Think of trying to iron out wrinkles in a sheet. Be careful to not over work a muscle; if it feels puffy put some ice on it and calm it down again.
· Another option for working out a sore muscle is to do some gentle stretching. Talk with your doctor about which stretches should be done to relieve the discomfort in the areas bothering you. Becareful though, if you stretch the muscle too aggressively, you may make a sore muscle an injured one. Never bounce with stretching and it should not be painful. Mild discomfort is okay—as long as it does not linger for too long once the stretch is complete.
If any of the activities listed above cause you pain – stop what you are doing and seek professional advice before trying them again.