SORE MUSCLES: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT
Sore Muscles are often caused by rigorous exercise. It is highly likely that you’ll develop muscle pain or stiffness a day or two after you’ve been exercising. However, while it’s common among people who have started exercising, it can also occur to anyone who has increased intensity or duration of their workout routine dramatically.
In most cases, sore muscles are considered to be a normal response to unusual physical exertion and is an essential part of the adaptation process where the muscles recover and go through hypertrophy(the increase of the muscle size)
Causes of Sore Muscles
While common causes of sore muscles are stress, overuse, tension, and minor injuries. They only trigger a localised pain that usually affect a small part or a few muscles in your body.
Systemic muscle pain that is felt throughout the body can be as a result of illness or a more deeper cause. That said, here are the causes of sore muscles:
Vigorous body exercise is among the leading causes of sore muscles. When you engage in strenuous activity or workout that goes beyond what you are accustomed to in your daily routine, you are likely to wake up with sore muscles. The same case happens with heavy overloading or working in a job that requires too much lifting, pushing and pulling. Among the body exercise that can cause muscle stiffness includes, push-ups, jogging, climbing uphill and so on.
- Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle soreness because the human body is made of cells with vitamin D receptors. Lack of vitamin D causes the receptors to become hypersensitive causing non-specific musculoskeletal pain. Ideally, vitamin D deficiency significantly impacts the bone structure, which makes them painful and brittle, and since the muscles attach to the bones, they tend to become weak and sore too.
- Muscle Strain Sprain
Muscle strain happens when a fibre on the muscle is either torn, twisted, or stretched. Mostly, the strains occur on the lower back or the legs, and you experience sprains in your knees, ankles, wrists, and other tissues around the joints.
- Polymyalgia Rheumatic
Polymyalgia Rheumatic is muscle pain that is often associated with old people. It mainly affects the arms, hips, neck, and shoulders.
- Cigarettes and alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking can be associated with muscle soreness. Smoking reduces the oxygen concentration in the blood, while alcohol causes breakdown of proteins, both resulting in muscle soreness.
An imbalance of minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium can lead to sore muscles. Dehydration and some infections including polio, lupus, meningitis, flu, also known as influenza, can also be the cause of muscle pain and soreness throughout the body.
Statins, which is the drugs that are prescribed to lower cholesterol may have muscle soreness as a side effect. Other drugs that cause soreness includes ACE inhibitors and cocaine.
Sign and Symptoms of Sore Muscles
Symptoms of sore muscles include
• Muscle tenderness and pain, especially after a physical activity that violently contracts or stretches the muscle
• Muscle swelling, bruising or redness
• Muscle spasm or cramp
• Decrease or a complete loss of muscle strength
• Challenges on changing posture, may it be standing up from a chair, sleeping problems and even at times, putting on clothes. The reason for this is that the muscle is either stiff or is painful when struggling.
Treatment of Sore muscles
Despite having different causes, there are procedures that one may take to treat sore muscles. Here are a few of them.
- Heat Therapy
Heat therapy is usually recommended after exercising, as it will help to prevent either acute or delayed sore muscle. You just need to apply the hot or warm heating pack on the muscle immediately after a strenuous exercise. Besides using a warm damp towel, you can also take a warm bath to ease the pain.
- Body Massage
Manipulation of soft body tissues, using massage therapy, is yet another way of treating sore muscles. Having different types of massage therapy, speak with your therapist to help you choose one that will help you ease your pain.
- Cold Therapy
Cold therapy is an ideal way of treating muscle and joint pain. Cold therapy will relieve pain and reduce swelling. It is best if you see a specialist, but to improvise this technique at home, you can soak in a cold bath or use a bag of frozen vegetables and an ice pack to press against your area of discomfort. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t apply ice on naked skin.
- Frequent Exercise
Sore muscles can be annoying and may cause you to quit exercise. However, that should not run through your mind; keeping on exercising will help your body adapt to workouts and maintain your fitness. But in case the pain continues being severe you can opt to either lower the exercise intensity or change into another more straightforward body exercise for a while to help the body adapt to your new training exercises. However, it is good to appreciate that muscle soreness is a natural body way to adapt to exercise.
- Eating Healthy
Healthy eating and staying hydrated at all times is highly essential. Also, Antioxidant-rich foods and Amino-acids also, particularly the L-citrulline has been discovered to help on reducing muscle soreness. And you can never go wrong with a glass of milk in the morning; milk protein helps strengthen your muscles.
- Healthy practice
It’s vital that you practice good posture when sitting and standing and use the correct procedure when lifting heavy loads. Also, maintain healthy body weight because obesity is known to stress muscles, particularly in your legs and back.
- The takeaway
We’ve all experienced discomfort in muscles at some point in life. While sore muscles are quite normal, you should see a doctor if the sore or pain persists for more than three days or when you experience severe, unexplained pain that is accompanied by unexplained symptoms.