By Pure Matters
When you're working your body hard, you might find yourself feeling a bit sore. And that's not uncommon. What's going on?
There are really two main types of muscle soreness:
1. The soreness you might experience during or immediately after exercise. It usually goes away very quickly and can be blamed on the by-products of muscle metabolism, which involves getting enough oxygen to your cells so they can do their job.
2. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It usually comes on about 24 to 48 hours after exercise, then decreases after about 72 hours. DOMS is a natural body process that's due to microscopic tears in the muscles and surrounding connective tissues. It's when your muscles rebuild that you get stronger and start to see some of that sculpted muscle tone. This soreness is actually a sign that your workout is working.
Now, on to the important part...relief!
If you find that the soreness is so bad that it's affecting your daily activities, put it on ice. Try applying bags of frozen vegetables (peas work well) to the affected area -- they conform to your body and are more comfortable than a hard block of ice. Avoid the urge to take a long, hot bath or get into a hot tub or sauna immediately after a workout. In addition to being dehydrating, heat can increase inflammation.
Find Help OTC
Many people find that taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen when they have some muscle soreness can help ease the pain. As a group, these medications are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, and generally do a good job at helping you feel better fairly quickly by reducing some of the inflammation in your muscles, joints, and connective tissue. Just be careful of taking too many of these pills at once: Chronic use can lead to stomach, liver, or kidney problems, in some cases to a very serious degree.
Try Herbal Soothers
Natural health experts often recommend arnica for treating soreness and swelling. This plant can be used in several forms, including creams, salves, ointments, gels, and tinctures. Massage the natural medicine into your muscles for a soothing rubdown. (Never apply to broken skin or an open wound.) You can also try rubbing with some witch hazel as a gentle way to soothe sore muscles.
Enjoy a Muscle-Relief Menu
Certain foods are considered natural anti-inflammatories. Omega-3 fatty acids, for one -- like those found in salmon and other cold-water fish, walnuts, and flax seeds -- have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body. If you're not a fan of fish, you can try taking fish oilsupplements.