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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness is the discomfort and pain felt in various parts of the body due to excessive strain on the muscles. This excessive strain has many causes.

It is a very common phenomenon and some athletes believe that their workout is not complete without muscle soreness. However, it is can be very painful and affect your day to day activities.

Types of Muscle Soreness

Mild Muscle Soreness

This is mild and is usually experienced after an extensive workout. It can last for up to 3 days. This is the soreness that athletes link with muscle development. It does not require medical intervention.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

This is muscle soreness which is felt 2-3 days after being triggered. This soreness results in inhibiting muscle contraction which can result in severe discomfort. It is caused due to excessive workout which damages the muscles. It can last for up to two weeks.

Injury-Type Muscle Soreness

This is the result of an injury. It is a sharp pain and occurs when the injury is caused. This can be varying depending upon the type of injury. It requires medical attention to treat the injury.

Causes of Muscle Soreness

  1. Workout

Excessive workout and using wrong techniques can result in muscle soreness. Adapting new workouts and pushing limits is the most common cause of muscle pain and soreness.

Credits: Pixabay Caption: A weightlifter lifting a very big load.

  1. Nutritional Deficit

Lack of nutrition significantly weakens the muscles and makes them

more prone to soreness.

  1. Sleep Deficiency

Proper sleep is an essential component of workouts. If sleep is not proper than the muscles do not have enough time to recover. This results in the development of soreness.

  1. Exhaustion

Overdoing any kind of physical activity results in soreness. This applies to workouts as well all day-to-day activities.

  1. Stress

Stress has been linked with muscle soreness. It can cause significant discomfort and requires treatment of stress

  1. Dehydration

Dehydration can cause fatigue and muscle soreness. In some cases, sportspersons have been affected by dehydration and resulted in having muscle soreness.

  1. Medication

There are various medications whose side effects include muscle soreness. Some of them are:

  1. ACE Inhibitors

  2. Statins

  3. Diseases

There are various diseases that can cause muscle soreness. If you have been diagnosed with any of the following, inform your doctor regarding the muscle soreness. Some of them are:

  1. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

  2. Fibromyalgia

  3. Infections such as the Flu

  4. Autoimmune Disorders

  5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  6. Polio

  7. Bacterial Infections

  8. Hypokalemia

  9. Arthritis

  10. Lyme Disease

  11. Pneumonia

Symptoms to Watch Out for

If muscle soreness is accompanied by the following symptoms than they could have an underlying cause and you should seek medical help immediately.

  1. Difficulty in Breathing

  2. Rashes

  3. Dizziness

  4. Loss of Movement

  5. Swelling

  6. Bite Mark

  7. Pulsating Pain

  8. Fever

If the pain lasts for more than 10 days or has any other symptoms than seek medical help.

Treatment of Muscle Soreness

The treatment strategy of muscle soreness is based on the intensity of pain, the duration, and the site of pain. ‘Site of pain’ means where you are feeling the pain.

Back and Neck Pain:

Back and neck pain are among the most common types of muscle soreness. They can be caused by heavy weightlifting.

The primary back relievers are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These are pain killers and are preferred because of their easy access and quick action.

Exercises and Physiotherapy can also significantly help in reducing back and neck pain.

Muscle relaxers for back pain have shown significant results in patients suffering from chronic pain. But they are prescription medications and should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor.

Muscle relaxers for back pain are supplemented with other forms of treatment and are only given for short durations.

Some of the commonly used muscle relaxers for back pain are:

  1. Baclofen

  2. Benzodiazepines

  3. Dantroline

  4. Cyclobenzaprine

Body Pain, Headache and Fever:

In the case of body pain, headache and fever drugs like Paracetamol are preferred. Paracetamol is an analgesic and an Antipyretic which means it is a pain killer and reduces fever.

Rest and avoiding extensive physical activity are advised when suffering from body pain, headache, and fever together.


Muscle soreness in other parts of the body is treated with Acetaminophens, NSAID’s and other pain killers.

In case the muscle soreness is due to diseases, injuries, medications or other underlying causes, then the pharmacological treatments address the cause.

Non-Pharmacological Treatment

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

  1. Eating foods which have anti-inflammatory action can be a sore muscles cure. There are studies that show that these can significantly help in reducing muscle soreness. Some of the foods are:

  2. Pineapple

  3. Ginger

  4. Cherry Juice

Credits: Pixabay Caption: Pineapples can be help treat muscle soreness.

Cold Therapy

  1. Using ice packs or ice wrapped in a cloth can offer immediate relief for

soreness. Cold therapy is applied for short periods of 15-30 minutes at the site of pain.

Chiropractic Treatment

  1. Chiropractic is a healthcare profession. In this, the goal is to correct alignment problems by performing adjustments. Chiropractic is used primarily as a back-pain reliever.


  1. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation and have shown promise in treating sore muscles. They help in reducing recovery time. Some antioxidants which can be taken are:

  2. Turmeric

  3. Fish Oil

  4. Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Prevention of Muscle Soreness

There are various activities which can help in preventing muscle soreness.

Correct Workout

Following the correct workout plan which does not cause damage to muscles is very important. Resting between workouts and using the right technique help in avoiding muscle sores.


Proper hydration improves muscle function. Rehydrate after every workout.

Credits: Pexels Caption: A task as simple as drinking water can prevent muscle soreness. Maintain proper


Maintaining proper nutrition boosts muscles working capacity. Proper nutrition significantly helps muscles in recovering quickly after workouts.


There is a wide debate on whether warm-ups help with muscle soreness. Some people consider them an essential part of a workout while others argue their benefits.

There are studies that show that warm-ups and stretching can reduce the risk of muscle soreness and help with reducing the recovery time as well. Warm-ups can be tried to prevent muscle soreness.


Muscle soreness can be a regular part of your workout as well as an indication of a serious underlying condition. If you are suffering from muscle soreness, note the duration and any other symptoms that accompany it. If it lasts for more than 10 days consult a doctor. In mild cases, muscle soreness cure can be found at home but in severe cases seek medical attention.

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