Muscle soreness-when to worry (or not) and how to relieve naturally!

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: November 10, 2017
muscle soreness

Muscle soreness doesn’t have to hold you back!

Muscle soreness has many causes and is confused with several other conditions. Here, I’ll lay out the causes, confusions, and cures.

What muscle soreness actually is:

Next-day-after workout soreness isn’t from lactic acid or any toxins produced during exercise.

It’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) because it begins several hours afterward, and peaks (on average) around two days after you trained.

Exercise scientists agree that people who are experiencing soreness are also experiencing muscle damage and rebuilding. If you’re a bcaa and glutamine supplement guy, that’s a good thing to a certain extent. However, if you go too far and injure yourself, it obviously is not such a good thing. If you go too far, you’ll actually lose lean body mass instead of gaining it.

What Causes muscle soreness:

glutamine bodybuilding athlete
Almost any kind of hard exercise can result in soreness, especially if the exercises are new to your body. Eccentric exercises, (ones where a muscle has to contract as it’s lengthening) tend to be worse trigger than concentric (the opposite) exercises.

Think about the part of a biceps curl where you’re lowering the weight; that’s a classic example of eccentric exercise.
Hard static stretching and ballistic (bouncing) stretching can both do damage too.

 When It’s not “bad” and maybe even “good”:

Soreness correlates with muscle growth, repair, and recovery, so some soreness means more muscle growth. Note it’s also okay not to be sore. It’s possible to build muscle without soreness or to stop being sore after you’ve gotten used to a particular workout routine. That doesn’t mean the method isn’t working, especially if you use the best whey protein and other high bcaa foods. These items, along with bcaa  supplements, all damp down the DOMS quite nicely.

When It’s a definite “bad thing”:

DOMS’s dirty little secret is it comes with a loss of strength.  When you’re sore, your muscles are unable to produce as much force.

That weakness may last longer than the soreness, for days or even weeks.

If you’re sore all the time, you are sabotaging your own work-out efforts because you’re not working as hard as you could due to chronic inflammation in your muscles.

If you ever wake up so sore you can barely move, your muscles are swollen, and you’re urinating brown urine, you likely have what is called rhabdomyolysis so get to a hospital right away.

 What about muscle soreness that is a muscle spasm?

Muscle spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn.

It begins as a muscle strain, which doesn’t sound like a serious injury, but it can cause severe lower back pain.

Many people go to the emergency room because of muscle strains.

In fact, most episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the low back.

In fact, the low back is the place where there are more pulled muscles than anywhere else. When the muscles in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles become inflamed. With inflammation, the muscles can go into spasm leading to severe low back pain and difficulty moving. Lower back pain from a muscle strain occurs most frequently after lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall.

Muscle Spasm

Overuse can also cause muscle soreness that is a skeletal muscle spasm.

This is an occupational issue with construction workers working in a hot environment.

Often, athletes who are doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment experience this too.

Usually, the spasms will occur in large muscles that are the focus. For example, the legs in a long distance runner. When this occurs with heat exposure, the condition is also known as heat cramps. Overuse can also happen with routine daily activities like mowing or raking grass, shoveling snow, or strenous gardening, causing muscle spasms of the neck, shoulder, and back.

New exercise routines or activities can also cause muscle spasms to occur. For example, abdominal spasms can occur when a person decides to begin working their abdominal muscles by doing sit-ups and does too many too quickly. Writer’s cramps of the hand and fingers are similarly the cause of prolonged use of the small muscles in the hand.

Narrowing of the leg’s arteries (peripheral vascular disease) may also lead to muscle spasm and cramps, due to inadequate blood supply to the muscles.
Leg spasms are usually related to exercise, but cramps may also be seen at night involving calf and toe muscles.
Chronic neck and back pain can lead to recurrent muscles spasms.

Large muscle groups make up the trunk, including the neck, chest wall, upper back, and lower back. Spasms in these muscles can be a result of an injury, or they may develop over time because of arthritis developing in the spine. Systemic illnesses like diabetes are also potential causes of muscle spasms. Electrolyte deficiencies are another cause especially those treated with magnesium known here as magnesium threonate.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Muscle Aches?

Most instances of muscle aches result from too much stress, tension, or physical activity.

Some common causes include:

Overusing the muscle during physical activity

Injuring the muscle while engaging in physically demanding work or exercise

Muscle tension in one or more areas of the body

What Types of Medical Conditions Can Cause Muscle Pain?

Not all muscle aches are related to physical activity. Some medical reasons for muscle aches include:

Fibromyalgia/Connective tissues diseases such as Systemic lupus/Polymyositis/Infections, such as the flu with a fever/ Use of certain medications such as statins or ACE inhibitors/Dermatomyositis

When Muscle soreness needs a doctor’s attention:

Muscle soreness is not universally “harmless.” You should check in with your doctor for:

Severe muscle pain if you are unsure of the cause

Muscle pain that occurs after a tick bite

Pain that occurs soon after a change in the medications you take

Pain that does not start to go away after a few days of home treatment

Muscle pain that occurs along with a rash

Muscle soreness accompanied by redness or swelling

Otherwise, here’s how you treat muscle soreness and spasm:

Rest the area of the body where you are experiencing aches and pains.

Apply ice to the affected area to help relieve pain and ease inflammation.

Use ice for one to three days following the strain or sprain.

Apply heat for any pain that remains after three days.

Very gently stretch the muscles. Avoid activities involving the sore muscle(s) until after the muscle pain is gone enough to not be painful during activities. Stop weight-lifting or other exercise until you resolve the muscle pain.

Give yourself time to rest.

Get a gentle massage if massage “works for you.”

Try stress-relieving activities and exercises such as yoga and meditation.

Use a natural muscle relaxant  to relieve muscle spasm and use other natural COX1, COX2, LOX natural treatments for pain.



  1. I just recently started to go back to the gym. I did my normal routine and didn’t feel like I had placed any strains on my body. However, the next day, I woke up with almost every muscle in my body aching. Now I’m scared to go back. Would you recommend taking SitoSedate prior to going to the gym?

    • Actually I’d recommend taking the bcaa-l-glutamine powder gracie….you got a big case of DOMS……

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