By Jensyn Hartzell
It is important for athletes to take care of their body over years of playing sports. Intense training and injuries over several years can take a toll on an athlete’s body.
The most painful part of a workout can be the soreness felt the days after training or practicing.
This is why it is important to take proper precautions to prevent injuries and give their bodies enough time to rest and heal after training.
According to David Draper, a professor and director of the sports medicine and athletic training graduate program at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, “Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to.”
The soreness athletes feel in their muscles are the feeling of muscles stretching, meaning they are getting larger and stronger.
Believe it or not, feeling sore is a very good thing; it indicates improvement.
There are several methods to help prevent the pain of muscle soreness as well as various ways to alleviate soreness.
According to American Academy of Family Physicians, muscle soreness can be alleviated by gentle stretching, gentle massaging, applying ice and/or heat, and most importantly resting.
AAFP also explains that applying ice is used to “help reduce inflammation” while applying heat “helps increase blood flow to muscles” and “even a warm bath or shower can help.”
Over the counter prescriptions for pain like ibuprofen and pain relieving creams like Icy Hot are also helpful in relieving pain.
Muscle soreness is unavoidable, but there are things people can do to make their body feel better the next day.
According to AAFP, “warming up muscles before exercise may be better than stretching. It wakes up muscles by increasing blood flow to them.”
They also recommend drinking enough water, being well-rested, using proper technique when working out, and knowing your limits.
Although muscle soreness is a natural and healthy feeling, too much soreness or having muscle soreness for too long can be a very bad thing.
According to Nicole Krum, an instructor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “If the pain experienced prevents you from carrying out daily activities associated with living or working,” and “if the discomfort lasts for more than 72 hours then the exercise was too much.”
Krum also emphasizes that if soreness begins immediately after exercise, it is not normal. This type of soreness could indicate a fully or partially torn muscle.
Thankfully, a torn muscle has the same healing process as muscle soreness, but without the continuation of training. Torn muscles should not be worked.
Muscle soreness is a common pain for every athlete, but the most important way to heal and prevent it is being well-rested and keeping a healthy, stable sleeping routine to allow muscles to rest for enough time.