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Post-workout muscle pain: how to recover as well as possible

Post-workout muscle pain: how to recover as well as possible

Late-onset muscle pain (LMWD) is the painful sensation that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after exercise. They usually occur when the individual engages in some activity that is not accustomed to, with high intensity or long duration. That way, when someone does a workout for the first time, or changes the workouts, or the load of the exercises, or runs a marathon, for example, it is normal to have pain.

Why does pain occur?

A Late muscle pain may occur due to metabolic (as in the case of marathon) or mechanical (as in bodybuilding). In this case, due to small muscle injuries, generally related to the eccentric phase of the movement.

The eccentric phase happens when the muscle is elongated during contraction, for example, when a direct threading (elbow flexion? Strengthening of biceps). The concentric contraction happens when the hand goes toward the elbow and the eccentric phase when the elbow is stretched.

Blood lactate, or lactic acid, product of the use of glucose during metabolism, increases the acidity in the muscle and can be related to acute muscle pain, that is, pain that arises soon after exercise and not as late pain, which arises 1 to 2 days after training.

Symptoms of the most common post-exercise muscle injuries:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Late muscle pain
  • Decreased contraction force

When pain goes beyond normal

The pain period should end as muscle tissue recovers and metabolic balance occurs . During the injury, there is rupture of muscle fibers, calcium imbalance and inflammatory process, which will allow the removal of damaged tissue and subsequent regeneration. After this period, if the pain remains there may have been an injury of another order, and only a medical specialist can determine the extent of the problem.

Beginner Orientation

For beginners, planning a training program should always be made progressively and adapted to the level of physical conditioning of the practitioner. In this way, it is important not to skip any phase and follow correctly the adaptation phase, muscular resistance and later hypertrophy, for example. Both the muscle tissue and the metabolism may adapt according to the stimuli. Another important issue is to have interval days between the training sessions so that it is possible to recover the stimuli from the previous session. Thus, the pain will be minimized and will occur at times of training change or increase of load, as we have said previously.

Some studies have investigated the most common methods that can be used for the recovery of this type of injury. In the field of research, some techniques are more effective than others, so always consult a specialist before starting a practice on your own.

How to recover muscle in the best possible way

So that nothing is adopted in a harmful way , the suggestion would be:

Betting on training intervals for muscle recovery

  • Perform continuous exercises to improve circulation
  • Practice stretching
  • Practice massage
  • It is worth remembering that techniques such as cryotherapy, contrast, and medications are territories that compete with physiotherapists, nutritionists and physicians. Understand each one better:

Cryotherapy: application of ice at the site of pain or immersion of the area in ice water. It changes the temperature of the hair, the muscle and the joint, favoring the decrease of the swelling and decrease of the metabolism in the applied region, reducing the inflammatory response

  • Contrast: application of cold and heat, alternately. This technique aims to increase the local metabolism and thereby increase the removal of waste produced during the development of the lesion, relax the muscles and improve the perception of recovery.
  • Massage: massage increases blood circulation reducing swelling and pain , which contributes to the reduction of acidosis (caused by lactate), relief of late pain, intramuscular calcium balance, and renewal of ATP (a molecule that generates energy in the body) within the mitochondria (organelle responsible for cellular respiration)
  • Supplementation : Intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and antioxidants before, during, or after exercise may help protect against exercise-induced muscle injury.
  • Stretching: it is not scientifically proven that stretching actually helps reduce late pain, there is contraindication. In this way, the practice can be optional if the practitioner feels good about the exercises.
  • Active recovery: consists of performing low-intensity dynamic exercises, such as walking, light jogging, cycling, dancing, etc. The continuous exercise increases the blood circulation raising the rate of removal of metabolic waste, in addition to the release of endorphins, which causes a temporary analgesic but relaxing effect
  • Anti-inflammatory: the results of using anti-inflammatory drugs as a way to prevent or accelerate the recovery of lesions are inconclusive and can be harmful if used for a long time, so should be prescribed by a specialist physician and not used in the usual way

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