No pain, no gain. We’ve all heard this before. But, how many of you have experienced it during or after a workout? If you know how that feels, then you’ve landed on the right page.
Just like every person who regularly visits the gym to get their body in shape, you probably think that if you’re in pain, your hard work is paying off. Some beginners also get put off after a workout if they don’t feel sore, thinking that it might not have ‘worked.’
Not all types of muscle soreness are good after a workout. You could be facing mild delayed onset muscle soreness or something even worse, like a severe muscle inflammation. This means either you could be all good to go, or you might need muscle recovery therapy to help you feel better. Some tools like The Exogun Dreampro are used everyday by athletes to fight muscle soreness and speed up recovery. Exogun is affordable and very easy to use!
So what causes sore muscles after a workout? And when should you take it as a red signal to give your body some rest?
We’ve compiled all the information you’ll need to get the answers to these questions. So let’s get started.
What is Muscle Soreness?
Mainly, the sore muscles you feel after a workout is delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. You can feel DOMS right after your workout until about 72 hours after, or even during your workout, if it’s too intense.
Usually, people believe that DOMS is caused by high amounts of lactic acid developed in the body during intense exercise. That’s not the case at all. Instead, DOMS is caused by tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle tissue that cause inflammation.
After the tissues become inflamed and damaged, the body reacts to that by sending extra cells to nerve receptors. This makes your body more responsive to pain and causes soreness.
Some exercises, like running downhill, against the pull of gravity, will result in more muscle soreness. That’s because while resisting gravity, you’re making your muscles resist stretching through an eccentric contraction.
Besides that, there are many other factors that occur during a workout that makes your muscles sore. Here’s why your muscles get sore after a workout.
Why Do I Get Sore After a Workout?
You see, during a workout, you put your body through a series of challenges. Especially if you’re going through weightlifting and strengthening exercises, they’re sure to put a strain on your muscles.
The damage is usually on a cellular level. You get tiny tears in your muscles and the connective tissue surrounding them.
Most of the time, this damage is not bad for you. That’s because once the damage is done, the body creates a coping mechanism that involves biochemistry, to repair your muscles.
These chemical reactions and remodeling systems make your muscles stronger and larger too. But, that’s only when you conduct light exercises that your body can take, while gradually building up the strain. If you go too far, your muscles might end up with severe damage.
Furthermore, there are some exercises that produce more severe and prolonged soreness and pain than others. In a nutshell, all of these are the ones that make your muscles stretch out of their comfort zone.
For example, doing lunges and squatting can cause soreness quickly and result in prolonged pain after the workout as well.
If you have DOMS, you shouldn’t have anything more than a dull, mild ache in your muscles. You may feel your muscles ache while doing regular tasks such as climbing the stairs or sitting up.
However, if you feel redness, swelling, bruises, the damage is severe, and you may need to use muscle soreness tools, like Exogun Dream Pro, or muscle soreness therapy to relieve the pain.
Types of Muscle Soreness
As we mentioned before, if you have mild soreness after a workout that disappears after one or two days, it’s not something to be concerned about.
However, if it’s severe, disrupts your daily routine, and lasts longer than 72 hours, it’s serious, and you should seek help. Here are the two basic types of muscle soreness to help you get a better insight on the subject.
● Acute Muscle Soreness
Acute muscle soreness is the sudden, sharp, burning pain you feel in your muscles when you take up a strenuous activity. It’s caused by the rapid production of lactic acid in your muscles to cope with the stress you’ve inflicted upon them.
This usually resolves within a few hours. Besides, during exercise, acute muscle soreness can also occur while conducting strenuous daily tasks. These include lifting heavyweight objects or displacing them by pushing or pulling.
Most of the time, this soreness should go away on its own without any need for medication or muscle recovery therapy. If the pain lasts longer, it means you don’t have acute muscle soreness but something more serious.
● Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Delayed Onset Soreness is the pain you feel a few hours after exercise. It occurs when the strain causes tears in the muscle microfibers.
The pain may get worse before it subsides after two or three days. DMOS won’t occur if you’re carrying out rigorous everyday tasks. It usually develops if you’re using your muscles in a way they’re not accustomed to.
● Inflammation and Swelling
These symptoms occur when there’s high-level damage to the muscles. In this case, you may have difficulty moving or getting up, and the pain may not subside even after two or three days.
It’s usually because of severe ruptures in the muscle fibers, and you’ll need to take proper medication and therapy for relief.
Most importantly, you should remember that it's possible to face two, or all three of these conditions after you’ve gone through a rigorous gym session. That’s why it’s more beneficial to evaluate your symptoms and get help rather than being happy about your workout pain.
Is DOMS Considered Good After a Workout?
We’re not completely refuting the existence of good pain during and after a workout. Most commonly, a burning sensation in between different exercises, that resolves as soon as you stop moving is harmless.
Besides that, delayed onset muscle soreness is very common as well. Whether it’s good or not, it depends on the severity. It usually happens when you increase the intensity of your routine or go for a new exercise.
As long as DOMS doesn’t impede your ability to perform everyday tasks, and doesn’t hinder limb or joint movements, you shouldn’t be worried about it.
On the contrary, at a moderate level, DOMS is a sign that your body is responsive to your exercise routines. The microscopic ruptures build the body’s own repair mechanism that eventually increases your endurance and makes you stronger.
How to Tell if the Pain has Crossed the Line?
Yes, if you feel that your body is giving out red signals through the pain, you should do something about it.
The most severe and invasive condition that you can mistake for normal muscle soreness is rhabdomyolysis. In this case, your body secretes invasive chemicals for muscle repair, which can cause damage to your kidneys and threaten your life as well.
Nevertheless, rhabdomyolysis is rare, but here are some factors that you should look out for to get timely treatment if required.
● Difficulty in Movement
Sharp pain in your limb and joints when you attempt any form of movement is a bad sign. Your situation is worse if you cannot move a joint at all or can only move it to some extent.
● Pain in Previously Injured Areas
Sometimes when your body cannot cope with the muscle damage, you can feel pain in areas that were injured or affected previously.
● Swelling or Deformity
Simply, the area where you feel pain does not look the same. This can mean swelling, redness, or bruises as well.
● Fever and Chills
If you’ve felt your temperature rising after your workout or during the night that follows, it can be considered a red signal.
● Nothing Works
Mostly after post-workout muscle soreness, people go for pain relief medicines, ice-packs, muscle therapy, or massages. If none of that works, and the soreness doesn’t resolve after four to five days, you should see your doctor.
Is it Bad to Work Out if Your Muscles Are Still Sore?
Don’t get too scared. Muscle soreness is mostly harmless and sometimes even beneficial for your body.
However, some rest and care might help you recover in some cases, so it’s advisable not to continue your workout sessions until the pain has subsided. Here are some situations when you should seriously consider skipping the gym for a few days:
● You cannot Get out of Bed
If you’re having a hard time getting up in the morning, or if you find it difficult to do simple tasks like sitting down or standing up, you should give your body some rest.
● You cannot Climb the Stairs
It can be a little painful to climb the stairs in case of mild DMOS. But, if you think it’s entirely impossible to go through a flight of stairs you climb every day, you should take a break.
● You Need a Painkiller
If you need a painkiller to help you get through your daily workout, it means you haven’t given your muscles enough time to recover yet.
How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness?
Besides pain killers and invasive medicines, there are many ways you can minimize muscle soreness quickly:
1. Keep yourself Hydrated
Drinking lots of fluids helps your body repair sore muscles quickly. Also, water assists your muscle fibers when you’re stretching, minimizing the chances of muscle soreness.
Furthermore, a good fluid intake regularizes the level of electrolytes in the body. This makes it strong against impacts and helps keep you healthy during intense workouts.
2. Deep Percussion Therapy
Getting a percussion massage is perhaps the best muscle soreness therapy you can get. It’s minimally invasive and highly effective against sore muscles, so you can start working out again in no time.
Mainly, it’s a muscle soreness massage. It is conducted using a muscle soreness tool. The procedure helps your muscles repair faster by increasing the blood flow towards your target area.
Besides that, it also works to ease your pain and provide relaxation. This way, you can get the rest you need to help your body recover naturally.
There are many percussion devices available in the market, such as the Exogun DreamPro. This muscle massager gun is easy to use, portable, and versatile. You can use it anywhere to ease the pain in your target areas before or after your workout sessions.
Just use the percussion device or muscle massager gun to massage the area for five to ten minutes, and you’ll feel your muscles ease up and move comfortably.
1. Use an Ice Pack
Nothing works better than a soothing ice pack when you have burning, painful muscles. It’s an easy and non-invasive way to reduce inflammation.
2. Take Healthy Snacks
Believe it or not, but snacking between your workouts could help with muscle soreness. That doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself every now and then. Just add some sugar and protein-enriched foods during and after your workouts to keep you revitalized for the vigorous activity ahead.
3. Do Warm-Up Exercises
Doing light, warm-up, and cardio exercises help increase your body temperature. This helps your body cope with the intense shock of muscle damage.
Summing it all up, muscle soreness is a common phenomenon that everyone faces after workouts. Although it is common, you should not ignore muscle soreness if the pain is too severe, or worry if you don’t face any post-workout muscle pain.
In the end, each body is different and has its own habits and limitations. Once you incorporate a new exercise session into your routine, it’ll take time for your body to adapt to the changes.
Nevertheless, that’s no reason to worry and become skeptical about working out. You can use gadgets like muscle massager guns from Exogun, or other home remedies to prepare your body for intense activities, and ease the pain that follows.