Why your muscles hurt the day after working out?
Health & Beauty / /
If you do end up with pain in the muscles after a workout, the best you can do is to stretch and keep hydrated. Even though the pain can be result of different causes, the best way for treating it is to find the cause of your source and understand what’s behind it.
What actually is this sore?
“There’s muscle soreness that could be due to, say weight training, which can cause what we call delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is kind of a diffuse soreness in the muscle,” says Thomas Brickner, head team physician at the University of North Carolina. “It usually starts a day or two after a new workout, or a workout that you’re not typically accustomed to.”
DOMS happens the day after your workout after having a longer pause, such as first run in a few months, or first time trying out weights. At that point you feel like you can barely move or straighten your arms.
The cause of DOMS can be because of microscopic injuries to the muscles and the inflammation that comes as a results from it.
It's a common myth that it results from the build up of lactic acid. Lactic acid does cause that intense burning feeling when your muscles are about to give in. But your body is able to eliminate it from your blood in a few minutes.
“Usually the delayed onset muscle soreness is just kind of a discomfort in the muscles themselves that is somewhat diffuse, but the pain is usually just kind of mild and [the muscles] won’t typically lose much in the way of motion,” says Brickner.
How can you make the pain stop?
Certain types of exercise can cause more pain than others, especially those that include eccentric contractions tightening and lengthening the muscles at the same time. An example of this exercises are doing squats: the quadricep muscles in your thighs are starting, lengthening as you lower your body, but they are also tightening so you don’t go down too fast. Running downhill can cause eccentric contractions as well.
In most of the cases, this pain goes away on its own in a couple of days. But when the intensity is highest, there are some steps you can take in order to feel better, and potentially allow the muscles to heal as soon as possible. Drinking water and staying hydrated is essential. Muscle cells need liquid to repair damaged tissue properly through protein synthesis.
“If you are bold,” Brickner says, “and have access to multiple bath-sized bodies of water, a contrast bath—going from a warm bath to a cold one—could be helpful as well.”
Warm-cold baths open and close blood vessels, making them create a "pumping action" that decreases pain and inflammation in the area. A gentle massage of the muscles in pain can also be beneficial in revealing the pain. A research has shown that gentle massages can switch on genes that decrease inflammation as well as activate mitochondria-producing genes.