Post-workout pain is a problem. It is a common deterrent to those who need to start an exercise regimen and a plague on those who do work out. Post-workout pain can interfere with day-to-day life, making common, everyday movements a challenge. If you love to work out, (or would love to start) but are looking to reduce muscle pain, this article will cover several different ways to reduce your post-workout pain.
What is post-workout pain?
Pain is your muscles growing because they’ve torn bits of themselves during your workout. This is good, it means you’re building muscle, which is just your muscles repairing themselves. Another thing that is causing your pain is the lactic acid produced when you workout and it builds up in the muscle tissue. Lactic acid is a by-product of muscle use and is part of what makes you sore.
Reducing Post-Workout Pain
This leads us to the first thing to do to reduce post-workout muscle pain, stay hydrated. By staying hydrated you’ll be activating the body’s natural detoxification processes. Drinking lots of water will flush out your kidneys and help move lactic acid through your system and off your muscles. Increasing your water intake will also replace the water you lost through sweat during your workout.
A different way to reduce pain is to take electrolytes and minerals. Your muscles just burned through a lot of minerals during your workout, and you’ve lost electrolytes through sweating. Take a mineral supplement with magnesium, since magnesium helps muscles relax. Or use epsom salts in a warm to hot bath and soak for 15 minutes. If you don’t want to take a whole bath, try an epsom salt foot soak.
Another good strategy is to use the power of cold. If your gym has a cold tub, try a quick soak the next time you work out. Cold reduces inflammation, which is what causes the discomfort post workout. If you don’t have access to a cold tub, you can make your own with a bag of ice and a bathtub, or you can ice your muscles.
You’ve probably tried all of these strategies, and you might have even tried over the counter pain medicines and have still been in pain. However, Scientists have found a solution. Try caffeine. Caffeine cuts post-workout pain by half, better than Aleve, ibuprofen or aspirin. A study, published in The Journal of Pain, suggests that caffeine can help reduce the post-workout soreness that discourages some people from exercising.The team of University of Georgia Atlanta (UGA) researchers found that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by almost half (to be more precise, up to 48%) in a group of volunteers.
The Caffeine Study
The University of Georgia group studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine users and did not engage in regular resistance training. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the volunteers took either caffeine or a placebo and performed two different quadriceps (thigh) exercises, one designed to produce a maximal force, the other designed to generate a sub-maximal force. Those that consumed caffeine one-hour before the maximum force test had a 48% reduction in pain compared to the placebo group, while those that took caffeine before the sub-maximal test reported a 26% reduction in pain.
Caffeine has long been known to increase alertness and endurance, and a 2003 study led by another UGA group found that caffeine reduces thigh pain during moderate intensity cycling. The researchers explained that caffeine likely works by blocking the body’s receptors for adenosine, a chemical released in response to inflammation.
Despite certain limitations in the study such as small sample size, caffeine appears to be more effective in relieving post-workout muscle pain than several commonly used drugs. Previous studies have found that the pain reliever naproxen (the active ingredient in Aleve) produced a 30% reduction in soreness. Aspirin produced a 25% reduction, and ibuprofen has produced inconsistent results.
Try a Mocca Shot After Your Next Workout
Instead of rushing for a Starbucks after your workout, throw in a pack of Mocca Shots, a high energy caffeine gummy, in your workout bag or backpack.One pack equals two cups of coffee (packing 200mg of all-natural caffeine) – so you can reap the benefit of pain relieving and delicious caffeine whenever you need it.
VictorMaridakisPatrick J.O’ConnorGary A.DudleyKevin K.McCully, Caffeine Attenuates Delayed-Onset Muscle Pain and Force Loss Following Eccentric Exercise, The Journal of Pain, Volume 8, Issue 3, March 2007, Pages 237-243, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2006.08.006