Muscle soreness is muscle pain, most of the time localized on the parts of the body mobilized during physical exertion. Have you just resumed sport or have you just made a more intense effort than usual? No doubt, the pain you feel in the muscles used is a body ache! Stress, viral infections (flu, coronavirus…), or rheumatism can also cause these unpleasant pains.
But then what to do in case of aches? Here are our tips to recognize and relieve them.
How to define soreness?
What is a soreness?
Body aches are muscle aches that can result from physical exertion, fatigue, or fever. They usually appear 24 hours after exertion.
These pains are due to microlesions of muscle fibers. The muscles are then hard and tired and a feeling of stiffness frequently accompanies muscle pain. These microlesions are not serious and last about a week.
What is the difference from other types of pain?
A soreness differs from other types of muscle pain such as cramps, contractures, or strains because of the duration, intensity, and severity of muscle pain. Here are their features:
- A cramp is a painful, involuntary, intense, and sudden contraction;
- contractures can last a very long time with localized pain;
- The elongations are brutal, very painful, and accompanied by a tear.
What causes muscle soreness?
Muscle soreness can occur after playing sports, but also without even having practiced physical activity. In any case, it is an inflammatory reaction of the body.
After physical exertion
Muscles that are not used to working are not able to withstand the load placed on them. Lesions of the muscle fibers can then form and lead to muscle soreness.
It can be another explanation for body aches in case of viral infections such as the flu. In this case, the lymph nodes that fight the virus by putting it in the presence of lymphocytes intended to fight it are affected. This inflammatory fight is a source of aches.
It can weaken the muscles and promote the appearance of aches due to a lack of oxygen.
It can also cause muscle pain in the neck and back. A stress reaction causes muscle hypertonia (increased muscle tone) beneficial to release anxiety but becomes painful in the absence of physiological rest time. Muscle exhaustion can be felt because the muscles are overworked and aches appear.
They can also appear in the case of fibromyalgia (a syndrome characterized by diffuse pain throughout the body associated with great fatigue and sleep disorders). The pain then increases in the muscles causing aches. However, the causes of these pains are not fully defined by specialists.
What are the consequences of these muscle pains?
Aches and pains are not dangerous, but cause pain and discomfort, as each movement becomes difficult to achieve.
They can impact performance, reduce the range of motion, decrease muscle capacity to absorb shock, and lower muscle strength and power. Because of the pain, it is complicated to solicit the muscle entirely.
Soreness can also be a source of unusual stress on tendons and ligaments. After practicing sports, these muscle pains particularly affect the thighs and legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves).
What solutions relieve aches and pains?
For effective muscle recovery and avoiding muscle soreness, there are several solutions.
Rest your muscles
In order to avoid muscle soreness, it is recommended not to resume too intense sports activity within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of body aches. Rest is also recommended to avoid soliciting sore muscles. To relieve the painful area, it is also advisable to apply heat to promote blood circulation and relax stressed muscles.
Massaging the affected muscles can help relieve pain due to body aches.
Prevent muscle soreness
Before and after a sports practice, a few simple gestures can be adopted to avoid muscle soreness:
- a complete warm-up and stretching;
- drink water;
- have a diet adapted to his activity;
- know how to listen to your body.
Certain medications such as painkillers or anti-inflammatories may be prescribed on the advice of a doctor.
Finally, do not hesitate to consult a doctor if the aches have lasted for a long time or are too frequent or if they are accompanied by one of these symptoms:
- high fever;
- swelling of the muscles;
- extreme fatigue.
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