The Best Way to Beat Sore Muscles

Ever survive a particularly grueling workout and then had trouble getting out of bed, let alone walking, the next morning? Then you’ve experienced DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness—a phenomenon that usually hits within 12 to 24 hours after exercising and peaks around 48 hours post-workout.

READ MORE: Is Muscle Soreness Good or Bad?

Massage has long been recommended as a remedy for muscle pain, but a March 2013 study shows that dragging yourself back to the gym for more exercise can actually relieve the soreness just as effectively as booking a masseuse at your favorite spa. (Granted, it’s a lot less fun.)

The study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, involved 20 women who did shoulder exercises to the point of soreness, and then returned to the lab two days later. Each woman received a 10-minute massage on one shoulder, and did 10 minutes of exercise on the other shoulder. Both activities helped diminish muscle soreness.

“There’s no miraculous pain reliever,” says exercise physiologist Janet Brill, Ph.D. “Both massage and active exercise can provide temporary relief from the soreness.”

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That’s good news for people who don’t want to spend the money or time getting a massage—the study indicates that a light workout at the gym or at home can have the same effect. “While a massage may be more fun, it isn’t necessary,” says Brill. “Active recovery at home is just as good.”

And that post-workout soreness that has you hobbling around town? As long as you’re not in extreme pain, soreness is actually a positive sign, notes Brill. “It’s your muscles adapting to what they’ve been exposed to,” she explains. “They’ve been shredded by the workout and are recovering and building.” So pat yourself on the back for that soreness—you’ve earned it!

READ MORE: The Best Workouts for Your Body Type

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  • RachelPoo

    I totally agree with this article when they talk about heat therapy when trying to reduce back pain. Stretches for lower back pain and massages are also a good idea when thinking about your body pain. What I like to use is a back patch for pain for the times I can’t be using my towel and hot water technique or can get away to a massage table to get my back pain worked out. I live a very busy schedule where my free time is barely there. I don’t have time to follow most of these ideas and that’s why I like Absorbine Jr. They have two types of back pain relief patches that make it easy to deal with any type of lower lower right back pain or lower left back pain where I get it the most especially. They back patch from Absorbine Jr is the largest on the market and offers a warming feeling for deep seated aches and pains. The Ultra Strength Pain patch is a small intense cooling pad that it focuses on the area in pain. This works the best for those left and right certain spot pains that I get in my back. I encourage everyone to check all types of medications and methods for pack pain relief. If you don’t have time like I do, this might be a great solution.