You work hard multiple times a week, every week, to get your body in tip-top shape. You run, hike, bicycle, swim, or maybe work out at your local gym. Whatever you do for exercise, you are taking the time to care for your body and ensure your health is at its best for the long haul.
So when you start having grueling joint and muscle pain, you feel frustrated that you are essentially being punished for all of your hard work. You are trying hard to take care of your body, so why are you feeling penalized for it?
Joint and muscle pain is a common issue for athletes and workout aficionados of all ages. Regardless of how well you stretch and prep your body for workouts, sometimes it isn’t enough to stop aches and pains from bothering you.
Sometimes pain is a necessary evil for exercise, but there are plenty of ways that you can soothe these aches and get back to your workout routines fast. In this article, we got the scoop from local fitness studios about what they do to repair their sore or damaged muscles. So be ready to take notes while you read from the experts!
Some ways to soothe your joint pain include:
- Eating right
- Ice therapy
Before you try any of these methods for your pain, be sure that you know exactly what is causing your pain. There are countless types of pains that occur in various areas of your body. A shin splint should not be treated the same as a muscle spasm, so take the time to properly diagnose the area of pain and what may be causing it.
1. Eating Right
Like many other health and lifestyle problems that people experience, nutrition is at the base of joint and muscle pain. Eating healthy can benefit the body in various ways, however something that the average runner may not know is that there are specific foods you can eat to help your body recover faster after a workout.
Brittny Golding is the program director for The Madison Improvement Club’s Tempe location. After she finishes a spin class, she recommends eating foods rich in protein to improve muscle recovery and growth.
Protein-rich foods contain vitamins that are natural remedies for pain and can also help prevent future injuries from occurring. Find out more about which types of food can help sooth your joint pain.
2. Ice Therapy
For people who don’t enjoy the cold, the feeling of ice against your body is not something that you look forward to. However, ice is another natural at-home remedy that can help ease pain you may be experiencing from your workouts.
Cold temperatures help reduce blood flow which prevents inflammation. By lessening your chances of inflammation and/or swelling, this method can be a fast way to get rid of pain in your joints and muscles.
The most common way for people to use ice therapy is by placing an icepack on the area they are experiencing inflammation. The rule of thumb is to place the icepack on the area for 20 minutes, and then take the icepack off of your body for 20 minutes. This alternation of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, allows your body to receive the benefits of ice therapy without damaging your skin or muscles from extended direct contact with extreme coldness.
If the pain you are experiencing is hitting your body in several areas from head to toe, an ice bath might be the best option for you. Ice baths are something that athletes regularly participate in and is proven to help repair and build muscles to prevent them from being injured in the future.
If you are new to the concept of ice baths, be sure you know the proper precautions to take before diving in head first. If you have a bathtub in your home, fill the tub with cold water. The temperature of the water should be around 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so place however much ice is necessary into the cold water to get a temperature within the recommended range.
For the first few times you partake in an ice bath, feel free to keep the temperature a bit warmer and then progressively make the water colder with each ice bath you take. This will give your body a chance to become acclimated to lower temperatures.
Ice baths should be no longer than 6 to 8 minutes. It doesn’t take long for the cold to span throughout your entire body, and overexposing yourself will do more harm than good. If your bathtub has jets, do not use them during an ice bath. The effect of the jets actually make the bath water colder and could potentially diminish its effects.
Last but not least, avoid jumping directly in a hot shower after you take an ice bath. The jump from one extreme to another is never a good thing for your body. To receive the most benefits, allow yourself some time to warm up on your own after getting out of the ice bath.
Stretching your body out on a regular basis is something that many exercise junkies are familiar with. If you do nothing else to help prevent your muscles from being injured, stretching is the one thing you should be doing every day.
Golding says that after she wraps up a spin class at The Madison, she takes to her mat for a little bit of yoga. The two poses she recommends for a post-cycling stretch are hip openers. Try spending some time in pigeon pose and figure four pose to really feel your hips open up and stretch out.
Looking for a valid excuse to indulge in a massage? We’ve got you covered! Even though this may seem like an elaborate way to remedy joint and muscle pain, there is truly nothing else that will leave your body feeling better. A regular massage will do the trick for your aches and discomfort, but a high performance or athletic massage will be even better for you. Deep tissue massages are like an intense form of stretching. All of the lactic acid will be worked out of your muscle tissues and you will feel like a brand new person.
If you are on a budget and can’t spare the money to hire a masseuse, foam rollers are a great alternative. These easy, at-home tools give your muscles a deep tissue massage for a fraction of the cost of a professional massage.
If you have searched high and low for something to relieve your pain and still haven’t found success, sometimes a medical alternative is the only option left. Prolotherapy is a quick, easy and effective fix for your chronic pain due to injury.
This form of injection therapy requires little time spent in the doctor’s office and can have you getting back to your exercise routine in no time, pain free! Find out more about the specifics of this procedure and then give us a call to book your consultation!