Fitness Articles

Smart Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles

Decode, Treat and Prevent 5 Common Types of Post-Workout Pain

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Pain is a real, well, pain! How many times have you been gung-ho to start a new workout routine only to feel like you've been hit by a ton of bricks on day two? Something as simple as walking down the stairs can feel like torture. Most of us have "been there, done that" when it comes to muscle soreness. However, did you know that there are many different causes for muscle soreness and that some of them are entirely preventable? Read on to learn what's normal and what's not when it comes to muscle soreness, and how to tell the difference between normal soreness and pain that requires time off from the gym (or even a doctor's visit).

Many people confuse soreness with pain, but the two are very, very different. Soreness is more of a dull, slightly uncomfortable ache in your muscle, while pain is a very uncomfortable or sometimes sharp sensation in your bones, joints, or sometimes your muscles. While some muscle soreness is normal, pain is not. If you feel pain at any point during your workout, it is essential that you stop what you are doing. If you experience sudden pain, severe pain, swelling, extreme tenderness, extreme weakness in a limb, inability to place weight on a leg or foot, inability to move a joint through its full range of motion, visible dislocation or broken bone, numbness or tingling you should see a healthcare professional right away. 
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • Advice to do yoga to treat muscle aches? if you don't think yoga is strenuous enough to bring on muscle aches, then you haven't done yoga. Try holding poses for a minute or more; eg, do a "chair" which is essentially a squat you hold in place vs going up and down. When you hold that pose, your muscles don't 'rest' like they do when you stand-and-squat, stand-and-squat. Yoga is not just stretching. - 1/28/2016 2:18:55 PM
  • I wear orthotics and often get cramps in my calf muscles. Thanks for the helpful advice. I love learning something new every day on Sparkpeople. - 10/15/2015 2:40:25 PM
  • ANISTONJENNIFER
    I have also use to some health issue that is Muscle pain. My friends suggest me Carisoprodol medicine. I have used it and me relief my body ache. Carisoprodol itís healing various muscle pains. I advise go Fostermeds.com and buy online Carisoprodol 350mg itís really help. - 7/24/2015 4:12:26 AM
  • Great resource for understanding your body - I saved it for future reference. I have had muscle cramps since I was a young girl (I was very athleic), later from being physically active, later from different medicines and recently from trying to be healthy. I have never heard to not point my toes! Amazing that I have treated for this and no one shared this gem of information. - 6/30/2014 7:06:08 PM
  • THERESAMARGARET
    Thanks! good information. I was going to stop my exercise program, because of the soreness every time. I got scared I shouldn't be working out so hard. I was thinking just go back to walking. Good motivation information. On to Curves now. - 6/30/2014 8:00:39 AM
  • DENNISPARKER
    I think that overcoming muscle pain just takes time. When I exercise heavily, I am sometimes sore for two days.

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    - 6/19/2014 6:25:25 AM
  • Something that helps me feel amazing is to walk to and from the gym, instead of sitting down in the car post-workout. I only have 5-min drive but I noticed that even after cooling down and stretching, I felt tight getting out of the car back at home. I turned the 5-min drive into a 25-min walk and it really helps! - 6/18/2014 9:47:58 PM
  • DENNISSG
    A reliable blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that characterize a blog to be a best one. - 6/16/2014 3:56:34 AM
  • Good info wish I would have found it before jan jumpstart! - 1/27/2014 6:51:56 PM
  • ROSIEGAINES
    excellent help,i did my first gym session today and just want to tone up,am a bit achy but am not worrying too much,see how i am tomorrow and may go for a light swim - 9/5/2013 4:31:23 PM
  • Great information. After reading the article I learn the name of the pain I sometimes get the day after I exercise "DOMS"= Delay Onset Muscle Soreness. I love when I learn something new:) - 7/17/2013 5:59:12 PM
  • Good info. Thanks. - 6/26/2013 7:13:18 AM
  • Glad you made the distinction between pain and soreness. Once a week I work to fatigue and feel sore the next day. I happen to enjoy the soreness because I know what it means. Now and then I can truly feel the burn too - but again - that's not usually more than once a week. Pain, otoh - uh uh. Nope. don't do pain. - 6/23/2013 6:36:31 AM
  • I am about to do a 21 mile bike ride today and then teach a yoga class. This was an excellent artical to reinforce that I will be alright! - 6/23/2013 6:36:05 AM
  • I've found ice baths to be incredibly helpful. - 6/14/2013 12:28:52 PM

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