What causes muscle soreness and how is it best relieved?
What is the best way to relieve delayed muscle soreness?
To date, a therapy that consistently relieves delayed muscle soreness has yet to be identified. Studies attempting to identify the best methods to alleviate delayed muscle soreness are almost as abundant as the number of studies conducted to determine its cause. Cryotherapy (the topical application of ice), massage, stretching, and the use of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), among other less conventional approaches, have been evaluated to determine if they can prevent or effectively treat delayed muscle soreness. While a sure fire way has still not been pinpointed, a few of the aforementioned therapies may have a mild positive impact if initiated immediately following intense or unusual exercise.
Can I prevent it from happening?
Once an individual has experienced delayed muscle soreness at a specific exercise intensity, he or she shouldn't encounter that sensation again until the intensity level is increased. This is because delayed muscle soreness has been shown to produce a rapid adaptation response, which means that the muscles adapt to a given exercise intensity level. Until (or unless) the exercise intensity level is changed, soreness won't occur.
Progression is your best weapon.
The most widely recommended approach to preventing delayed muscle soreness is gradual progression and conservative increases in intensity, frequency and duration. Preliminary light exercise may prevent the onset of soreness following a heavy eccentric-exercise workout. Beginners should exercise with light weights, two to three times per week for one to two months, and then gradually increase the intensity of their workouts. Conditioned exercisers who want to try a new workout or activity also should begin gradually, taking care not to be overzealous in how hard they exert themselves- particularly until their bodies adapt to the demands imposed upon them.