Muscle pain, especially frequent or chronic muscle pain, can have an outsized negative impact on your physical and mental health. Continuous pain causes stress, anxiety, and even depression. At the same time, muscle pain makes it more difficult to work out or do other things that help relieve anxiety and depression. It can be a vicious cycle, and it is important to stay ahead of muscle pain before it sidelines your fitness goals.
Alternate Ice and Heat
Many people regularly use ice packs to help relieve swelling and heat packs to reduce aches and pains. The trick to reducing muscle pain in the long run, however, could very well be alternating both. Begin by applying ice to lower inflammation and then switch to heat. The heat will act as a vasodilator (just like dilating your eyes makes your pupils bigger, dilating your veins makes your veins expand. This allows your body to more effectively flush acids and negative byproducts of your workout, while, at the same time, providing more blood to help your muscles heal.
Tart Cherry Juice
There is mounting evidence that tart cherry juice can help relieve muscle soreness and make your body more efficient at healing muscle damage. It is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Most studies that have looked into tart cherry juice study the results of people drinking it on a regular basis, so, if you want to test the benefits for yourself, be sure to make this a habit and not a one-off event. Just be careful not to go overboard. Cherry juice can have a lot of sugar, so pick a kind that is especially tart and limit how much you drink.
The dizzying variety of muscle balms available today can make it confusing to know where to go when it comes to picking the one that is right for you. Generally, you want to look at the content of the active ingredient. Usually, this is menthol, but CBD muscle balm is growing in popularity as well because of research suggesting it reduces inflammation and eases stress and anxiety. You can also take CBD oil orally, of course, but targeting the exact muscle that is sore is likely to provide better results.
Most people finish their work out and hit the shower, simple as that. This might actually be a large factor contributing to your muscle pain. Experts suggest doing an active cool-down period of as much as 20 minutes. The point is to stay just active enough to have a slightly elevated heart rate. This way, blood will be pumping the lactate out of your muscles and ultimately reducing blood lactate levels. Especially if you are doing strength training, a 20-minute moderate difficulty stationary bike session will do wonders to flush your muscles of lactate and reduce muscle soreness.
Here is another simple change you can make to your diet that will help with muscle pain and inflammation. Mushrooms are an easy and healthy ingredient to add to almost anything. In addition to reducing inflammation, they are very low-calorie foods and will take the flavor of whatever you cook them with. If you add 10% of a meal’s content in mushrooms to the meal, you will eat about 10% fewer calories since mushrooms are virtually calorie-free.
Massages have long been touted as a way to relieve stress and muscle pain; in this case, the hyper is true. Massages can reduce cytokines, inflammation-causing compounds in your body. They can also stimulate mitochondria, which give your cells the ability to repair themselves and function as best they can.
Now, regular massages might be out of most people’s price range; fortunately, however, there are alternative therapies you can do at home that will have much the same effect. The most important of these is foam rolling. With a simple foam roll, you can use your body weight to press the knots out of your muscles and stay ahead of new knots before they form.
While it is impossible to remove muscle pain entirely from life, if you adhere to these tips and use common sense, you will significantly lessen the pain you have to deal with as a result of your training regimen. This will make it easier to train, and you will be happier and healthier as a result.