Have you ever woken up the day after a workout and wondered what a great guilt you have committed to deserve such severe muscle pain? We are talking about that pain that can be caused by many causes, knowing the things that will help you treat it in the best way, and finding ways To prevent this from happening in the future.

What is this pain?

“There is muscle pain that may come from, for example, training with weightlifting, which can cause what we call delayed muscle soreness, which is a type of pain radiating into the muscles,” says Thomas Breckner, chief medical officer for a number of sports at the University of North Carolina. It usually starts a day or two after starting new exercises, or exercises you are not used to.”

body ache upon waking up

body ache upon waking up

Delayed muscle soreness is the type that occurs the next day after you first start exercising or jogging in several months, or try to lift weights for the first time. Although it may cause you to feel barely immobile, you can extend your arms if necessary even when the condition is very bad.

Delayed muscle soreness is caused by microscopic injury spreading to the muscle itself and the resulting inflammation. (A common myth is that it’s caused by a buildup of lactic acid. Lactic acid causes a burning sensation during the last movement of a workout or when muscles are about to get tough, but the body can flush it out of the blood in a few minutes.)

“Delayed muscle pain is usually a type of discomfort in the muscle itself that is fairly pervasive, but the pain is usually mild and [the muscles] don’t usually lose much of their movement,” Breckner says. He also says that there usually isn’t much swelling in the area. For example, if you did some biceps exercises the day before, that muscle might become sore, but you’ll still be able to extend your elbows.

How can I make the pain stop?

For delayed muscle pain, some types of exercise may cause more pain than others, especially exercises that involve so-called eccentric contractions — those that relax and contract muscles at the same time. A good way to visualize this is to imagine doing a squat, where the quadriceps muscles in your thighs begin to stretch as you lower your body, but also contract so they don’t drop too quickly. Running downhill can also cause this, says Breckner.

This type of muscle soreness usually goes away on its own within two days. But when it’s intense, there are steps you can take to feel better while the pain goes away, and may allow the muscles to heal faster, too. Breckner says drinking enough fluids is very important. As muscle cells need water to properly repair damaged tissue through protein synthesis. He says that if a person is bold, and can do what’s called a contrast bath – alternating between a warm bath and a cold bath – that can also be beneficial. Contrasting baths open and close blood vessels, creating a “pump effect” that reduces pain and inflammation in the area. It’s also not wrong to gently massage painful muscles, as research has shown that it activates genes that reduce inflammation as well as activates genes that produce mitochondria.

When is it more serious?

Delayed muscle soreness is excruciating and can disrupt your daily activities. But you should still be able to do some things, albeit more slowly. But, if you’re unable to stretch your arm after a few days of biceps workout, it’s probably time to see your doctor. It’s a sign of rhabdomyolysis, Breckner says, which is a severe muscle injury from excessive exercise. Excessive exercise can actually cause muscle cell death. When the cells die, they release toxins into the bloodstream, which can cause a lack of responsible muscle movement, stiffness and swelling, and release myoglobin into the kidneys, which can make urine look bloody, which is not good.

“A lot of people go in and work out really hard and think muscle soreness is a normal, normal occurrence from exercise,” Bricker says. But that may not be the case. It may be caused by degeneration of skeletal striated muscle, an abnormal type of muscle pain. And if you have awareness of that, that is very important.” This degeneration is rare, but if you have severe muscle stiffness, pain and swelling with red or brown urine, it’s best to see a doctor or go to the emergency room.

Can I prevent muscle pain in the first place?

Anyone can fall victim to muscle soreness, whether it’s a championship-winning basketball player or just someone walking up the stairs. It all comes down to when you don’t stress yourself out too much, especially if you’re new to exercise.

“I see this a lot in athletes,” Brickner says, often with great bodies and first-class athletes, but maybe they’ve just come back from winter or summer break and have done a lot more hanging than they’ve done in weeks. or months. He says that while their bodies are great, they overdo it, and the result is muscle soreness.

So how do you know how to avoid overdoing and thus spend the next few days feeling stiff like a plank? Next time you want to do a new exercise, you should feel like you can do the exercise a little harder if you want to. For weightlifting, Breckner recommends choosing a weight that won’t tire you out. The weight you’re carrying should make you think that you can lift more than that the first few times. As for beginner runners, Breckner says that if you’ve never run before, start day in and day out, maybe try something like running 1.5 km and then walking 1.5 km to gradually increase the distance.

“Almost all of these things happen because a person gets into the program too quickly without training the body for it,” he says.

In addition to not overexerting yourself in the first phase, drinking enough fluids and eating the right nutrition for the exercises you do (carbs for aerobic exercise like running, or protein for weightlifting) may help. Warming up and cooling down are also essential to protect yourself from injury, says Breckner.

“Muscle soreness can occur in the best trained athletes, and it can occur in less trained athletes,” he says. I think it can happen to anyone, but prevention – regardless of a person’s background – is to start with a little something you’re not used to.