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How to relieve sore muscles fast: combat muscle pain quickly

Hayley Dawes
9 October 2023

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Do you remember the last time you had a killer workout, only to wake up the next day with muscles so sore that it felt like you’d been run over by a truck? We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun. That’s why finding effective ways on how to relieve sore muscles fast is essential for keeping up with your fitness goals and staying motivated. In this blog post, we will explore various methods to combat muscle pain quickly, from quick relief techniques to understanding delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and nutrition for faster muscle recovery. So let’s dive in and discover how to ease muscle soreness and get back to feeling great.

Short Summary

  • Combat muscle pain quickly with heat therapy, cold therapy & self-massage techniques.
  • Understand DOMS and follow prevention tips for a better workout experience.
  • Fuel your body with the right nutrients, stay active during recovery & get quality sleep to maximize muscle growth!

Quick Relief Methods for Sore Muscles

When sore muscle strikes, you need relief – fast. Thankfully, there are several quick relief methods that can help relieve muscle soreness, including heat therapy, cold therapy, and self-massage techniques. These methods work by reducing inflammation and promoting blood flow to your muscles, ultimately reducing muscle soreness and helping you feel better faster, ready to tackle your next workout.

So whether you’re dealing with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after an intense workout or simply trying to ease muscle soreness after a long day on your feet, try incorporating these techniques into your recovery routine.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is like a warm hug for your sore muscles. It works by increasing blood flow and circulation, helping to flush out inflammation and waste products that can cause muscle soreness. One way to experience the benefits of heat therapy is through heating pads or moist heat, which have been shown in a 2013 study to provide even greater pain relief than dry heat when applied to the same muscle groups.

So next time you’re feeling the burn after a tough workout, don’t hesitate to reach for a heating pad and let the soothing warmth work its magic on your aching muscles.

Cold Therapy

On the other end of the temperature spectrum, we have cold therapy – the cool, soothing counterpart to heat therapy. Cold therapy, such as ice packs or cold baths, can provide relief by reducing inflammation and swelling, and help ease muscle soreness. Think of it as a sports medicine secret weapon that provides instant relief to your aching muscles.

So don’t let muscle pain hold you back, and try incorporating cold therapy into your recovery routine to bounce back quicker.

Self-Massage Techniques

Self-massage techniques, like foam rolling and using a massage gun, can be your personal masseuse, helping to repair sore muscles by decreasing swelling, enhancing tissue healing, and reducing muscle tenderness. Foam rolling is a particularly popular self-massage technique that can help alleviate DOMS, muscle fatigue, and even improve your flexibility.

So, if you’re struggling with muscle soreness, don’t hesitate to grab a foam roller or a massage gun and give those muscles some much-needed TLC.

Understanding Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

DOMS is a normal part of the muscle-building process, but it can also be a major pain in the… well, you know. Understanding DOMS involves knowing its causes, symptoms, and prevention tips to minimize muscle soreness and optimize workout performance.

By learning the ins and outs of DOMS, you’ll be better equipped to manage muscle pain and know when it’s time to push yourself further in your exercise routine or take a well-deserved rest day.

Causes and Symptoms

DOMS is caused by microscopic tears in muscle fibers and surrounding tissue from new or intense exercise, leading to inflammation and pain. These tiny tears are a natural part of the muscle-building process and are typically the result of eccentric contractions during exercise, where the muscle lengthens as it contracts.

While it might feel like your muscles are screaming in protest after a tough workout, rest assured that it’s all part of the process of getting stronger and more fit.

Prevention Tips

No pain, no gain, right? While some muscle soreness is inevitable, there are ways to minimize its impact. Prevention tips include:

  • Warming up before exercising
  • Cooling down afterward
  • Learning proper form
  • Gradually increasing intensity
  • Hydrating
  • Moderating caffeine consumption

By incorporating these strategies into your workout routine, you’ll be better equipped to prevent injury, reduce the severity of DOMS, and get the most out of your exercise sessions.

Nutrition for Faster Muscle Recovery

Food is fuel, and when it comes to muscle recovery, what you eat can make all the difference. Ensuring that you consume the right nutrients, such as protein, antioxidants, tart cherry juice, and milk protein supplementation, can support muscle repair and reduce soreness, helping you bounce back faster and stronger.

So let’s take a closer look at these nutritional powerhouses and how they can help speed up your recovery process.

Protein and Antioxidants

Protein is the building block of muscle, and consuming protein and antioxidant-rich foods after a workout can help speed up muscle recovery and reduce inflammation. Some examples of protein and antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Dark leafy greens

By incorporating these foods into your post-workout meals, you’ll be providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs to effectively repair and recover.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of muscle recovery, but this tangy beverage has been shown in a 2020 study to decrease muscle pain and inflammation, making it a valuable addition to your recovery arsenal.

So, the next time you’re feeling the burn after an intense workout, consider reaching for a glass of tart cherry juice to help soothe your aching muscles and speed up the recovery process.

Milk Protein Supplementation

In a 2017 study, milk protein supplementation was shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve strength. Milk protein supplementation offers a beneficial combination of whey and casein proteins, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, making it an excellent choice for those looking to optimize their muscle recovery.

By adding milk protein supplementation to your post-workout routine, you’ll be supplying your body with the essential nutrients it needs to build and repair muscles, ultimately helping you reach your fitness goals faster.

Active Recovery Strategies

Sometimes, the best way to recover is to keep moving. Active recovery strategies like light exercise, dynamic stretching, and active cooldown can help alleviate DOMS and promote muscle healing.

By incorporating these strategies into your post-workout routine, you’ll be giving your muscles the care and attention they need to repair and grow stronger.

Light Exercise

Engaging in light exercise can help sore muscles by bringing blood flow and vital nutrients to the muscles, promoting recovery. Examples of light exercise for active recovery include leisurely walks, swimming, or cycling. The ideal intensity for active recovery workouts is moderate, with a heart rate within 30% to 60% of your maximum heart rate.

So, the next time you’re feeling sore, don’t just sit on the couch – get up and get moving with some light exercise to help your muscles recover faster.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching before a workout can help prepare the body for exercise and may slightly reduce muscle soreness. Examples of dynamic stretches include lunges, arm circles, and leg swings.

By incorporating dynamic stretching into your warm-up routine, you’ll be giving your muscles the best possible start and helping to minimize soreness and discomfort.

Active Cooldown

An active cooldown after a workout can increase blood flow, reduce blood lactate, and lead to less soreness and longer endurance. Examples of active cooldown exercises include walking, jogging, or cycling at a low intensity for at least 10 minutes.

By taking the time to cool down after your workout, you’ll be setting the stage for a smoother, more efficient recovery process.

Sleep and Muscle Recovery

Sleep is often overlooked when it comes to muscle recovery, but it’s absolutely crucial for helping your muscles repair and grow stronger. When you sleep, your body works hard to rebuild and restore itself, making optimal sleep duration and quality essential for reducing inflammation and promoting muscle repair.

So let’s dive deeper into the importance of sleep and how it can help you bounce back from muscle soreness faster.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep, especially non-REM sleep, is essential for post-exercise recovery due to its role in protein synthesis and reducing inflammation. During non-REM sleep, your body works hard to:

  • Repair and grow muscle tissue
  • Restore energy levels
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Consolidate memories and learning

This makes sleep a vital component of a successful recovery strategy.

So, if you’re looking to minimize muscle soreness and promote healing, make sure you’re getting plenty of quality shut-eye each night.

Optimal Sleep Duration

Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night to support muscle recovery, muscle function, and overall health. Not getting enough sleep can result in decreased performance, heightened risk of injury, and reduced cognitive function.

So, make sure you’re prioritizing sleep as part of your muscle recovery strategy – your body will thank you.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While muscle soreness is normal after a workout, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek medical attention. If muscle pain persists for more than a week or if severe symptoms are present, it may indicate a more serious issue.

In these cases, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to ensure proper care and treatment.

Persistent Pain

Persistent pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than three months and does not improve with medication or treatment. If you’re experiencing persistent pain, it’s important to seek medical help to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Some possible treatments for persistent pain include physical therapy, medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and yoga.

Severe Symptoms

Severe symptoms can include intense muscle pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected area. These symptoms may be the result of overuse, intense exercise, or an injury. In these cases, it’s important to seek medical attention to ensure proper care and treatment.

To help relieve pain and alleviate your severe symptoms, try resting, applying ice, compressing the area, and elevating it, as well as taking over-the-counter pain medications.


In conclusion, relieving sore muscles fast is essential for staying motivated and on track with your fitness goals. By incorporating quick relief methods like heat therapy, cold therapy, and self-massage techniques, understanding DOMS, focusing on nutrition, employing active recovery strategies, and prioritizing sleep, you’ll be well-equipped to combat muscle pain and bounce back stronger than ever. So, the next time you’re feeling the burn, remember to take care of your muscles – they’ll repay you with improved performance and a faster recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make sore muscles heal faster?

For faster muscle healing, try massage, stretching, rest, ice or heat treatment, and OTC pain relievers. Massage can increase blood flow to reduce soreness and fatigue, while ice and heat can also help alleviate inflammation.

How long should it take for sore muscles to go away?

Sore muscles are normal after exercise, especially after novel or intense exercise. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness and typically peaks at 24-72 hours afterward, although it can last up to 5 days.

While it may be uncomfortable, there is no need for medical attention and it will soon pass.

What drinks help sore muscles?

Replenish electrolytes, carbohydrates, and glucose lost from sweating with 100% fruit juice, such as tart cherry juice, for its anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce soreness. It is important to replenish these nutrients to help your body recover and stay healthy.

What not to do with sore muscles?

Avoid moving, exercise if it hurts, poor technique and plyometric exercises when you have sore muscles - these are all surefire ways to avoid injury and keep your muscles from getting worse.

It is important to be mindful of your body and the activities you are engaging in. Taking the time to rest and recover is essential for avoiding injury and keeping your muscles healthy.

Can sore muscles heal overnight?

It is possible for sore muscles to heal overnight, depending on the intensity of the workout. Generally, a light workout can be recovered from in 24 hours while more intense workouts may take two to three days before the soreness subsides.