Muscle stiffness is a painful feeling in your muscles, usually one to two days after a tough training session or competition. It is a sign that the body is struggling to adjust to the new sporting regime or more demanding exercise. Small wounds in the form of minuscule tears in the muscles are the root cause of this muscle pain. It can affect beginners but also very experienced sports people.
- The pain occurs during movement or when the muscle is touched.
- The symptoms can range from fairly light to debilitating.
- It could also mean a loss of movement and a reduction in muscle strength.
- The symptoms will get worse in the first 24 hours after the sporting activity, peak around 24-72 hours afterwards and then gradually reduce and disappear (five to seven days after the sporting activity).
Hot baths, saunas and light stretching encourage recovery by stimulating blood circulation through the muscles. Light exercise is permitted but avoid any increases. Bear in mind that this light exercise will ease the pain, but once the activity is stopped, the pain will come back.
A gradual build up of exercise that doesn’t increase too quickly, warming up and stretching all help prevent muscle pain after exercise.
Shock-absorbing soles can also help combat muscle pain in runners. Soles, however, can only be recommended for disorders or recurring injuries. Find out more from your doctor or another expert.