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5 Tips to Reduce Muscle Pain After Exercise

A successful workout program can reduce stress and improve overall fitness. Muscle pain after strenuous activity is a common occurrence. Known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, it is caused by the microscopic tears in the muscles produced during a workout. While a little soreness may not interfere with an exercise regime, there are steps, in addition to staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet, that can alleviate or lessen the affects of DOMS.


Stretch muscles right after a workout as part of the cool down process, as well as over the next several days. Muscles tend to tighten up during recovery, which can exacerbate the soreness. Move through the slow gentle motions rather than hold the position to help remove lactic acid from the muscles. Stretching helps keep muscles moving, fosters blood circulation and relieves the tight feeling while diffusing the pain. 

Light Massage

Studies have shown that a massage shortly after a workout, and again a few hours later, can reduce future pain. Lightly massaging sore muscles reduces tightness and inflammation by lowering the amount of cytokines produced by the body as well as promotes blood flow and increase mitochondria, which can speed recovery from DOMS by enhancing the muscles ability to extract oxygen.

Warm Bath

The heat from a warm bath loosens tight muscles and improves circulation. As with stretching and massage, this improved circulation means more oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood reaches your sore muscles. Add Epsom salt, a soothing mineral commonly used to reduce inflammation and sooth sore muscles. 

Contrast Hydrotherapy

Another DOMS therapeutic treatment technique is to alternate heating pads and cold packs or warm and cold water. Heat causes vasodilatation, which cause increase blood flow to the affected muscle, while the cold temperature results in vasoconstriction, which promotes localized circulation. The alternating temperature also causes the lymph system to relax and contract like a pump to remove stagnant fluids. 

Over the Counter Pain Relief

Sore muscles can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). These medications can decrease the discomfort associated with DOMS. Avoid long-term use of these medications, which can interfere with your muscles ability to repair themselves. 

If you have muscle soreness and joint pain for an extended period after a workout, contact our Chicago or Cicero chiropractic clinics for a free consultation. Our staff of chiropractic specialists can help diagnose and treat sports injuries and help show you how to safely exercise while maintaining good posture. This can help reduce your after workout muscle pain and soreness. Call (773) 763-1590 or click here to schedule your free no obligation consultation to see how chiropractic adjustments along with regular exercise can keep your body in optimal condition.