It is common to have muscle pains after exercise when pre exercise warm-ups aren’t thorough. A lot of people wrongly assume that DOMS is a part and parcel of stringent training routines but it is not. The simplest tip to reduce post exercise pain is to take a hot bath and allow the sore muscles to relax and heal in the warm water. However, there are other ways to relieve muscle pain when hot tubs aren’t available.
Caffeine For Enhanced Performance and Pain
Caffeine has nerve receptor inhibitors which, in simple terms, act as painkillers after a gruelling workout session. About 2.5 cups of coffee is shown to reduce pain and enhance performance as well. Some people also take caffeine capsules for the same. Caffeine also accelerates the recovery of sore muscles and taken before the workout, it can lead to better performance and higher energy levels.
Topical Menthol for Pain and Swelling
When topical menthol is applied on the areas that are hurting, a cooling sensation is experienced and this helps to reduce the pain. According to a study, pain was about 63% less in people using topical menthol after workout. However, this remedy does nothing for the exhaustion experienced after an exercise session.
Topical Curcumin For Quicker Recovery
Curcumin is found in turmeric, a herb that is often used as an antiseptic. Curcumin creams can be applied topically over the area to reduce pain and inflammation. It is known to work against DOMS. Injury related pain is especially treated with the help of curcumin.
Blueberry and Tart Cherry Juice For Reducing Pain and Muscle Damage
As a post workout drink, juice from fruits rich in antioxidants should be preferred. This is because these fruits have compounds that are anti-inflammatory in nature and help to heal the body quickly. They also remove toxins from the body and improve the immune system. Tart cherry is specifically known to help with post-workout pain. These fruits should be taken without milk for quicker relief.
Ice For Swelling and Pain
While hot baths might help to ease the pain, ice packs are particularly great for reducing swelling. This is because the effect of hot baths is only short term and the pain relief is mind, at best. Ice, on the other hand, helps to ensure that no further damage occurs to the muscles. Healing is also quicker with ice. If ice packs are not available, some ice can be crushed and put in a waterproof bag or towel, and applied over the injured area for relief.
Herbal Bengay For Soreness and Swelling
According to a study, the effects of herbal Bengay are similar to that of Ibuprofen. This herb can be applied topically in cream or gel form over the area. It helps with soreness, swelling and pain.
Painkillers for Pain Relief
OTC painkillers can be used if the pain is too much to bear. However, painkillers should not be popped everyday to avoid side effects.
These simple and effective tricks would reduce the pain in no time. However, simply because the pain is reduced doesn’t mean that the body isn’t hurting anymore. Thus, it is recommended to modify the workout or training regime accordingly.
Luis Fandos is a Long Island, NY based pain management physician.