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How You Can Relieve Your -Pain and Stiffness-Muscle Pain Anytime Relief From Muscle Pains-Pain-Aches-

Updated on May 2, 2012

Muscle Pain Steps To Relief

Maybe you ran a few miles or spent the hole day in the garden,chopped wood or shoveled a few snowy sidewalks .Nothing real serious.But,a few hours or a day later,you can barely move.You're so stiff,it feels like you have aged 60 years overnight.Every Time you try to move,your muscles scream out "Don't move! It Hurts!" What's happening?

Feeling Stiff and Sore


Well,you have overdone it,and your body is letting you know. Overworking muscles causes the muscle fibers to actually breakdown.Ideally, you should be able to get into shape without getting stiff and sore.Most of us feel we have to overdo things,so we feel like we have accomplished something.In addition to the small tears that occur in muscle fibers,the muscles swell slightly,and the accumulation of muscle breakdown products like enzymes contribute to the feeling of stiffness and soreness.

Muscle Spasm and Cramping

Another common source of muscle pain is a cramp,an acute spasm of the muscle that can send you to the ground hollering in pain as you are clutching the offending muscle in pain.Muscle cramps can be caused by anything that interferes with the mechanisms that cause muscles to contract and relax.

Muscle cramping means not enough blood is getting to the area.The muscle objects with pain.

Knowing how muscles contract and relax can help you understand why the muscle cramps happen and how to prevent them.To cause muscles to contract,the brain sends an electric "contract" message from nerves to muscles.When the signal reaches the muscle,the minerals sodium and calcium inside the muscle and potassium outside the muscle move and cause the signal to flow along the muscle,making it contract. For muscles to contract and relax properly,they need the right concentrations of minerals as well as adequate supplies of fat sugar, and oxygen. A muscle goes into spasm because somehow you traumatized it. It's usually a sign the muscle has depleted its glycogen,its energy supply, and there are too many waste products in the same area.In response,the muscle goes into spasm. The spasms,in turn,decrease-the blood flow,which causes pain.The pain then causes more spasm,which causes even more pain.Although muscle cramps and soreness are not life threatening,they can be very uncomfortable.

A Few Tips

Here are a few tips to ease the pain and prevent the problem from recurring.

Stop whatever you are doing if you get a muscle cramp,don't try to "run through" a muscle cramp.If you try to keep going while you have a cramp,you are likely to really injure the muscle by pulling or tearing it.

When you get a cramp,stretch and squeeze the cramped muscle with one hand while you gently knead and squeeze the center of the muscle (you can feel a knot) with the fingers of the other hand.You want to stretch the cramped muscle in the opposite direction from the way it contracted.For example,if you have a cramp in the calf muscle,put your foot flat on ground and lean forward.If you can't stand on your leg,sit on the ground and stretch the toes up toward the knee.

Simple Things You Can Do

Walk it out.Once an acute cramp passes,don't start exercising heavily right away.Instead,walk for a few minutes to get the blood flowing back into the muscles.

Drink quinine tonic water, many competitive swimmers drink this to prevent cramps.

Eat bananas,sometimes a lack of potassium in the muscles can cause muscle cramps.Try eating a banana a day to keep the cramps at bay.

Chill out! If you know you have over exercised,immediately take a cold shower or bath,this will reduce the trauma to muscles. You may also try cold ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes at a time every hour. Cold constricts the blood vessels and shunts blood away from injured muscles,which reduces inflammation.The cold numbs the surface skin and superficial structures in the area,which will then reduce the pain.It also causes reflux inhibition of the muscles,causing them to relax.

Avoid heat. While cold can reduce trauma,heat can increase muscle soreness and stiffness,especially in the first 24 hours of overdoing it.. Heat may actually feel good,but it increases circulation to the area,causing blood vessels to dilate and fluid to accumulate. If you use it too long,it causes congestion in the area and more soreness and stiffness.If you insist on using heat on your sore muscles,don't use it for longer than 20 minutes every hour. You may also try contrast therapy--apply a hot pad for four minutes and an ice pack for one minute. after three or four days when the swelling has subsided,you can resume hot baths.

Take an anti-inflammatory.Aspirin and Ibuprofen are great for reducing muscle inflammation.If aspirin upsets your stomach,try the coated variety.You may also try using aspirin creams,which can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

Do some easy stretches. When your feeling sore and stiff,the last thing you want to do is move,but it is the first thing you should do. Studies have shown that light exercise the day after overexercising really helps. Stretch gently and do only 20 minutes or so of easy walking.

Take a swim. Swimming is one of the best remedies for sore muscles. The cold water helps muscle inflammation,and stretching helps take out the kinks.

Plan on second day soreness. You may feel a little stiff or sore a few hours after overexercising or overworking your muscles,but you will most likely feel worse a day or two later. Don't panic.It is totally normal.It is called delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Drink plenty of fluids.One cause of acute cramps,especially when your exercising during hot weather for longer than an hour or more, is dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before,during and after exercising.

Think twice about sports drinks. You don't really need them unless your exercising for longer than an hour at a time.Water is always best absorbed by the body.For most people,drinking water is better than drinking sports drinks.It is very important to replace lost fluids if you have over exercised.So drink up.

Pass the bouillon. If you know you will be exercising for longer than one hour in the heat,you can prevent muscle cramps by drinking a cup of bouillon before exercising. You can drink bouillon instead of sports drinks to replace sodium you will lose from sweating.

Massage the area. Gentle massage done a day or two after a hard workout,can help ease sore stiff muscles. Massage is wonderful for bringing circulation to the area.Do not massage with too much force too soon after a workout,as this can increase soreness and cause injury.

Avoid hot and cold creams. The pharmacy and supermarket shelves are loaded with topical "sports" creams designed to ease the sore,stiff muscles. Unfortunately,they do not do much.They just cause a chemical reaction on the skin that gives a feeling of warm or cold, but they do not actually heat or cool the tissues. If you do use these creams,test a small area of skin with cream to make sure your not allergic.Do not use these creams with a hot pad, as this can cause serious burns.

Wrap up.In cold weather,you can often prevent muscle cramping by keeping the muscles warm with adequate clothing.Layered clothing offers the best insulating value by trapping air between the layers.

Pre Warm Your Muscles

Warm up your muscles. One way to prevent muscle cramping and injuries is to warm up muscles before you begin any exercise.Instead of stretching first,try walking a little or bike slowly to "prewarm" the muscles. Then you can do a series of stretches appropriate for the exercise you will be doing. Even if you are only shoveling snow,chopping wood or working in the garden,stretching before you begin your activity will get your muscles ready for work and help to prevent muscle cramping.

Be aware of your limits. The key to preventing muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness,is to learn your limits.You do not have to overdo it to exercise or work. If you are feeling stiff and sore afterwards,you are most likely doing too much. Take your time.Build up over several weeks. Learn what your body can and can not do,and pay attention to those limits.

Pinched Nerve

If you are one who gets interrupted in the middle of a good sleep with cramps when you were not even thinking or dreaming of any physical activity or exercise, it is usually due to a pinched nerve or an exaggeration of normal muscle tendon reflex. When you turn over in your sleep, nerves can get pinched,causing muscles to cramp.Other times,when you turn over, you contract muscles,and the tendons attached to the muscles stretch. The stretched tendon sends a message to the spinal cord,which in turn, sends a message to the muscle,causing them to contract. It does not matter the cause of cramping,the bottom line is that the muscles that cramp at night have in someway gotten "stuck". The key is to short circuit this cramping before it begins to happen and disturbs your rest. Try stretching before bed to treat material cramping.Stretch the muscles that are subject to cramping.Calves are usually one of the main culprits of nighttime cramping.Try standing two to three feet from the wall and lean your chest against the wall,keeping your heels touching the floor.You should feel a stretch in your calves

When you have to shovel-Don't over do it
When you have to shovel-Don't over do it
A cool bath or moving in cool water may help to relieve pain.
A cool bath or moving in cool water may help to relieve pain.
Do a few stretches before you begin gardening.
Do a few stretches before you begin gardening.
Take time to relax.
Take time to relax.

A Good Diet May Help


Be sure you are getting enough calcium.Nighttime cramping is often associated with lack of calcium in the diet. Eat calcium rich foods such as, broccoli,leafy greens and low-fat dairy products. If you are still having a cramping problem ,you may want to consider taking a calcium supplement.

Lighten the load.Sometimes, cramps in the legs can be caused by to many heavy blankets.Try removing some blankets and keep your muscles warm with an electric blanket set on warm.

Massage the muscle if you develop a cramp despite using preventative tips.Massage with long strokes towards the heart.Sometimes a massage before you go to sleep can help keep the muscles loose and free of cramps so you can get better rest.

i hope this information helps,just remember don't over do it.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I find this very helpful article! Thanks!

  • IN2Deep profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from USA

    well I would say if he is in that much pain he should probablly see a doctor-maybe its more than just a pulled muscle. A good diet helps-maybe a multi vitamen. Does he stretch before he works? There is no miracle cure. Maybe he can try a massage therapist to help relax his muscles.Hope he can find some relief.

  • erinb62 profile image

    Erin Buttermore 

    7 years ago from Laconia

    This is a very helpful hub, but I was looking for a little different kind of advice. My husband does hard labor for work, and he seems to be in pain all the time. He isn't a big guy with a ton of bulging muscles (although stronger than you would think). His newest injury is something in his bicep or chest that maybe he pulled. It's been hurting him so bad that he says he sometimes has trouble breathing. Do you know any ways to soothe muscles that are pulled and something that can prevent him from constantly pulling things and being an aching wreck? He can't take anymore time off work, and this kind of work is all he knows, I just don't want him to be in so much pain all the time. I know that his diet isn't what it should be (he very rarely eats veggies), do you think this is partly the problem?


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