Muscle pain is the result of micro-tears in the cell’s internal support. They usually appear between 24 and 48 hours after undertaking physical activity, and are the response to a series of inflammatory processes which occur as a result of the muscle contraction mechanical work. They originate from doing exercises in which eccentric contractions predominate, i.e., those in which the muscle shortens as tension develops. In many cases they are so intense that they can even cause temporary immobility in the affected area.
Muscle pain is inevitable and the key is to design a constant training routine. The quickest way to get rid of the pain is to do the same physical activity that caused it, but gently. As such, the blood supply increases in the affected area and this facilitates the cleaning of waste products and mitigates the pain. As such, we must allow our bodies to adapt gradually so that the muscles become stronger and increasingly more able to face different levels of effort.
When muscle pain occurs, it can be reduced with the following:
- active recovery
- sports massage with massage creams such as PHYSIORELAX
- immersion of the affected area in ice
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) prescribed by a specialist
The sugar water myth
The sugar water myth was a traditional remedy aimed at eliminating the lactic acid crystals which formed in the muscle and which caused muscle pain. However, numerous studies have shown this not to be the case, and that drinking this does not help in any way. These studies, performed with muscle biopsies in athletes immediately after exercising, have shown that these crystals do not even exist in the muscle fibres after training, as the lactate leaves the muscle quickly and moves into the blood, eliminating itself minutes after the sporting activity. Glucose (sugar) would be the solution if the muscle pain was due to an energy problem; however, if this were the reason, the pain would occur during exercise, and not after one or two days.
Cold water and stretches1
Before beginning exercising and to reduce the discomfort on the second day, it is advisable to increase the muscle temperature with prior heating. When the activity has finished, it is advisable to have a cold shower.
Within the first 48 hours of onset of the muscle pain, it is advisable to:
- take immersion baths
- have cold showers
- carry out massages with cooling effect creams, such as PHYSIORELAX POLAR, to reduce the stiffness and pain and facilitate reabsorption of the inflammation.
- stretch to the limit of pain to relax the muscles and reduce the tone.