How Can I Relieve Muscle Soreness?

Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022

11 ways to relieve muscle soreness at home

muscle soreness
Here are 11 different ways to relieve muscle soreness at home following an intense workout or rigorous physical activity.

Here are 11 different ways to relieve muscle soreness at home following physical activity:

  1. Hydration
    • Dehydration is one of the causes of muscle soreness. Replenishing the lost water may prevent or fix muscle soreness.
    • It is essential to drink a lot of fluids while exercising or being physically active.
  2. Cold and hot treatment
    • Both ice and warm water help relieve muscle soreness.
    • Initially applying ice to the area will help reduce the burning sensation and delays inflammation. It also acts as a numbing agent.
    • Later, taking a warm bath reduces the process of inflammation and improves blood circulation, which reduces soreness in the muscles. The use of Epsom salt with warm baths helps reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.
  3. Massage
    • Gently massage the sore muscles with some essential oils or over-the-counter ointments to help relax stiffness.
    • These massages increase blood flow and relieve muscle tension in your body.
  4. Rest
    • It is important to take time for your muscles to heal; therefore, always have a rest period between continuous vigorous physical activity.
    • Elevating the legs helps improve blood circulation, which reduces inflammation of the muscles.
  5. Stretching
    • Stretching your body by doing warm-up exercises before an intensive workout loosens the tight muscles and improves blood circulation.
    • This also helps remove the toxins that are produced due to muscle stretching; otherwise, they cause inflammation that leads to muscle soreness.
  6. Dietary magnesium
    • Magnesium helps with relaxing the muscles; therefore, if you are on a low magnesium diet, you are prone to have muscle soreness caused by muscle tightness following exercise.
    • Muscle soreness may reduce with increased intake of magnesium-rich foods, such as:
    • Nuts such as
      • Almonds
      • Cashews
    • Seeds such as
      • Flaxseeds
      • Sunflower seeds
      • Sesame seeds
      • Pumpkin seeds
    • Spinach
    • Cocoa powder
    • Black beans
  7. Tart Cherry juice
    • Tart cherries are high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that protect and reduce the muscle inflammation and damage caused during intensive exercise.
  8. Whole-grain bread
    • Consuming high-quality carbohydrates, such as whole-grain bread or cereal, help feed your body during activity.
    • Whole grains also provide your body with a variety of nutrients such as carbohydrates, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper.
  9. Adequate sleep
    • Getting adequate and proper sleep helps you to recover from any type or degree of physical exercise. Sleep permits your muscles to rebuild themselves.
    • Hormones, such as human growth hormone and testosterone, rise throughout sleep, allowing you to perform even better the next day.
    • You'll not only heal faster if you sleep eight hours a night but also lower your risks of injury.
  10. Know your limits
    • You may be tempted to push yourself, but remember that exercise should be done gradually. You may gradually increase the amount of weight you lift or the amount of time you run.
    • You can damage yourself if you try to grow too quickly.
  11. Pain medications
    • If the muscle soreness does not subside with rest or other home remedies, you may take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the pain stimulus to the brain.
    • Muscle relaxants help reduce the tension and relax the muscles that reduce muscle soreness. However, long-term use of pain medication has been linked to kidney and liver damage.

What is muscle soreness and why does it occur?

You may feel a burning sensation in the muscle and dull aches when touched following a strenuous physical activity or exercise. This feeling typically sets in a few hours after a workout and can last for one to three days.

Muscle soreness is caused due to micro-tears and inflammation of the muscle cells due to extreme stretching during activity.

What is the difference between muscle soreness and muscle pain?

Here is the difference between muscle soreness and muscle pain:

Muscle soreness

Although muscle soreness is caused due to damage to the muscles, there is no exact measure of the damage.

Muscle soreness makes you uncomfortable too, but having a little soreness post-workout is beneficial. While healing themselves, the muscles tend to grow stronger to combat soreness from physical activity later.

Muscle soreness appears as a dull ache and tightness if you attempt to use that muscle. 

There are two types of muscle soreness:

  1. Acute muscle soreness:
    • The muscles feel immediately following intensive exercise. It feels like a burning sensation in the muscles and is caused by the build of toxins in the muscles. This type of muscle soreness relieves quickly.
  2. Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS):
    • Muscles experience tightness and soreness one day after a workout. While doing intensive exercises, muscle fibers get ripped and surrounding connective tissue gets damaged.
    • DOMS results when you use your muscles in ways they aren't used to, for example, during a new or more intensive workout.

Muscle pain

Muscle pain, often known as myalgia, is a symptom of an injury, infection, illness, or other health issues.

You may have a deep, constant discomfort or a series of sharp pains. Some people have muscular pain throughout their bodies, whereas others only in certain locations. Muscle pain is experienced differently by different people.

Mostly, muscle pain is caused immediately after damage to the muscle, tendons, or bones. Muscle pain may stay longer than muscle soreness.


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Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022
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