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This Is the Best Way to Treat Sore Muscles After a Workout

This Is the Best Way to Treat Sore Muscles After a Workout
From TIME - April 16, 2018

For many people, the mark of a good workout is waking up with sore muscles. Common as it is, though, theres still a lot of uncertainty about soreness. Can you work out when youre sore? Do you need to treat sore muscles? Is soreness a cause for concern?

Dr. Ryan Lingor, a primary care sports physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, answers all of your questions about muscle soreness.

Is soreness bad?

Not usually. When people are initiating a new workout regimen, its very common to develop soreness, Lingor says. Soreness is also common after people incorporate new moves or additional weight into their existing routine. It doesnt necessarily mean they have to stop the exercise or they have an injury.

How sore is too sore?

Experiencing some soreness is finebut there are some red flags that may suggest your pain isnt normal. Soreness is typical symmetrical, Lingor says, so if you experience significantly more pain on one side of the body, it may be a sign of a pulled muscle or other injury. Normal soreness should also develop between 24 and 36 hours after your workout and recede within about three days; if it persists longer, Lingor says, it may be a sign of something more serious.

Perhaps the biggest thing to look out for, however, is a change in urine color, which may indicate a relatively rare but potentially serious over-training condition called rhabdomyolysis. Sometimes you can get something where the muscles start to break down in an abnormal fashion, Lingor says. That muscle breakdown filters through the kidneys and turns the urine dark. If you notice that your urine looks darker or brown in the days after an intense workout, consult a doctor.

How do you help sore muscles after a workout?

Light activity is the best treatment for muscle soreness, Lingor says. Theres no real effective treatment for delayed-onset muscle soreness. The best thing actually is low-impact activity, he says. Time also helps.

Can you work out when youre sore?

How can you prevent soreness?

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