No Pain, No Gain

March 5, 2008 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

We go back to the gym after a long holiday or break, or when we decided to start on a new fitness regime, our body usually will give us a signal the following day or days…… PAIN or SORENESS.

The next day, we can’t walk, we can’t sit, we can’t move or sometimes even turn our heads! We start telling ourselves that these are good signs as the signs show we have worked out really hard.

Although it comes with the greatest intentions, one of the most common mistakes people make is to push themselves too hard the very first time back. Not only can this lead to soreness, but it can also cause injury, delaying your fitness goals further.

Serious injuries aside, muscle soreness after a workout can have two common causes — stored lactic acid in your muscles, or microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. In both of these cases, allowing yourself time to recover is the best solution. But there are a few ways to reduce the soreness:


After an intense workout out, go and have a massage. Go for aromatherapy massage or like me, Thai Massage as this is also an opportunity for the massage therapist to push the lactic acid out of your muscle tissues, preventing soreness.

Work Out

To get more of your lactic acid out from your muscle tissue, follow up with a low intensity workout the following day, and be sure to stretch. Many individuals make the mistake of simply not moving when sore, when these movements can actually activate the muscles, and help recovery.

Baking Soda

Basic chemistry: what happens if you put an alkaline solution into an acid solution? It neutralizes itself, depending on the pH levels of both solutions. Lactic acid, as the name implies, is acidic. Baking soda is alkaline. Your skin is the largest organ that has absorption capabilities. So, try a bath with one-half cup baking soda dissolved in the water, and see how you feel afterward. For me, I will usually soak myself in bath salt which is easily available too.

In short, the worst thing you can do is not to move for two weeks at all after that initial workout pain. It is the continuation of this fitness plan that will bring you the results.

Acute injuries that cause intense pain need a different kind of treatment. And there is a simple formula to it, which is best remembered using a convenient acronym — RICE.


Rest: A torn muscle, ligament, tendon or bone needs rest to heal. Leave it alone. Unlike with muscle soreness, it is inadvisable that you keep moving your injury the day after it has happened.

Ice: One of my clients swears by it. After a workout, when she experiences pain, she fills up her bath one-quarter full with water and ice cubes, and relaxes for 10 to 15 minutes in it. Do the same after an acute injury when swelling occurs.

Compression: When an injury occurs, white blood cells and fluids rush to the injured site, causing swelling. This is a mechanism, not only to start the healing process, but also to make the injured site immobile. An elastic bandage can help to prevent or reduce excessive swelling.

There is another form of compression that I would like to mention here. Some of you suffer from arthritis and other forms of pains, and your doctor prescribes swimming. Besides improving joint mobility during water exercises, water acts like compression on your body. Hence, being emerged in water might ease your aches and pains.

Elevation: To help reduce swelling, elevate the injured site so it remains 12 inches above the heart. Use some common sense when doing this, to avoid further pain.

Extracted from an article contributed by: Eunice, DTR, CPT-ACE
Nutrition Specialist


Entry filed under: Exercises and Workouts, fitness. Tags: , .

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