You had a killer workout and now you're paying for it with aching muscles. The pain you are feeling is your body's way of saying you challenged yourself or worked harder than your muscles are used to working, which is a good thing. If you don't feel like getting off the couch now that your body is drained, try some at-home solutions to get rid of your pain.
Rest Your Muscles
The first thing you can do is relax, kick back and rest your tired muscles. It's important to wait at least 48 hours before exercising the same muscles again. This time lets your muscles repair and become stronger for future workouts. Elevate any painful parts by propping up your arms, legs or back on a pile of comfy pillows. Decreasing the blood with elevation reduces any swelling. For more swelling reduction, wrap a compression bandage around the sore muscle group.
Ice packs can be used immediately after exercise or in the days following when the muscle soreness may increase. The Mayo Clinic recommends using an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes, up to three times a day. If you don't have any ice packs, get creative and use a bag of frozen vegetables. If the soreness is all over your body or you're feeling adventurous, dip yourself into an ice bath. Fill your tub about halfway with chilly water and add ice. At first you might want to bounce out of the tub with cat-like reflexes, but try to soak for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Keep your chest and face above the water at all times to avoid an injury.
Getting a good rubdown feels good even when you aren't aching from a tough workout, but it can feel especially good when your muscles are screaming in pain. According to WomenFitness.net, massage therapy stimulates neutrophils, white blood cells, to combat swelling and reduce muscular pain.
Knowing the difference between sore muscles from a brutal workout and an injury is crucial. Some things to watch out for include pain that lasts over a week, redness and poor circulation. You'll want to schedule an appointment with your doctor in these instances. You should get emergency medical care if you have sudden, sharp pain when you are active, have a tick bite, notice a rash, think you ruptured or tore a muscle, feel dizzy, are short of breath or have a stiff neck or a high fever.
Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.