Sometimes when I do intense sessions of grappling, throwing or breakfalls, I’ll wake up the next day or two days later with sore, aching muscles due to the strain of the training. Here are a few treatments for muscle soreness that can help.
1. Gentle exercise. Medical research suggests that you shouldn’t completely avoid exercise when dealing with muscle soreness. It’s quite the opposite. You should instead do light exercise that keeps the affected muscle(s) in motion. Blood circulation helps clear up the lactic acid build up that causes muscle soreness.
2. Ibuprofen (aka – Advil). While Ibuprofen doesn’t speed up muscle recovery, medical studies suggest that it does decrease the pain in the meantime.
3. Baths. A hot bath won’t cure muscle soreness, but it does help to take the edge off. I find it helps to throw in a cup of Epsom salts, which is said to help reduce muscle stiffness. According to a student of mine who is a doctor and avid fitness enthusiast, cold baths are a great way of preventing the soreness before it sets in. She says that if you can stand to immerse yourself in ice cold water for 5 minutes soon after you do an intense work-out it can do wonders for muscle soreness prevention. I’ve used cold water immersion for treating joint injuries, but I just can’t bring myself to fully immerse my body in ice water.
4. Stretching/ Yoga. They say that stretching doesn’t really do anything for reducing muscle soreness, but many people find that it helps make them feel better. There are some studies that the regular practice of yoga does help prevent muscle soreness. I find that yoga helps me, but only when I do it regularly.
5. Proper warm-ups. Medical studies suggest that properly warming up helps reduce post work-out muscle soreness. Experts suggest that you should do 3-5 minutes of exercise that gets your heart beating faster, like skipping, running, or gentle shadowboxing. This can take longer though if you’re training in a cold environment. Once you’re warm, it’s also a good idea to do some dynamic stretching, using movements that are similar the ones you’ll be doing in your work-out. These kinds of stretches should be done with steady, controlled movements, not explosive ones, which can injure muscles.