Post-exercise muscle soreness is a dull, aching sensation that follows unaccustomed muscular exertion. It is one of the strongest demotivation for those who begin new workouts. Knowing about this can help one overcome the hurdle of uneasiness of new exercises.

Acute muscle soreness develops during or directly after strenuous exercise. This response occurs as a muscle becomes fatigued during acute exercise because of the lack of adequate blood flow and oxygen and a temporary buildup of metabolites, such as lactic acid and potassium, in the exercised muscle.

  The sensation is characterized as a feeling of burning or aching in the muscle. It is thought that noxious metabolic waste products may stimulate free nerve endings and cause pain. The muscle pain experienced during intense exercise is transient and subsides quickly after exercise when adequate blood flow and oxygen are restored to the muscle.

 ASSESSMENT OF MUSCLE SORENESS: The “7-point Likert scale of muscle soreness” is used widely as a subjective measure to evaluate the muscle soreness.

Another method for accurate measurement used by Physiotherapists is a pain Algometer. It is a valid method of measuring the sensitivity of pain. The higher the soreness a subject experiences, the higher will be his/her sensitivity to perceive the pain. An Algometer is a pressure gauge that has been used to evaluate pain sensitivity in numerous clinical and physiological research studies.


-DYNAMIC STRETCHING: The concept of stretching is most commonly known to many; however recent studies suggest that dynamic i.e. the stretching that is focused on moving the muscle rhythmically through the range rather than holding it for long in the stretched position. This helps to reduce the chances of having muscle soreness.

-WARM UP: A properly planned warm-up is essential to increase the blood flow prior to workout. This is crucial to not only prevent soreness but also serious injuries.

-CORRECT TECHNIQUE: For those who choose their workouts from Social media videos or a word from laymen often miss out the right method including sync of breath, holding time, relaxation-contraction ratio, etc. and this increases the chance of having soreness and spasms.

-WATER THERAPY: Aquatic or water-based workouts are associated with lower level of soreness experienced and tend to strengthen muscles without loading the joints. Incorporation of hydrotherapy or pool-based workout is an amazing way out for those who get demotivated with soreness.

-ADEQUATE HYDRATION: Water and salt imbalance is a lead cause of soreness and cramps in muscles. It is very important to hydrate yourself while working out and the amount and type of fluids to intake should be discussed with experts as it varies on an individual requirement.

-COOL DOWN: this should consist of a planned sequence of exercises including static stretching where muscles involved in a workout are stretched and held in that position for at least 30 seconds. This allows muscles to relax better and prevents soreness.

-ICE THERAPY: Icing helps reduce the inflammation produced by micro-tears during workouts. The degree of soreness reduces significantly with icing.

-GENTLE ACTIVE EXERCISES: According to the level of soreness and other associated symptoms, performing gentle exercise helps to increase the circulation and reduce discomfort.

Remember, soreness is a part and parcel of workout and is just a sign that muscles are trying to develop strength against the load placed on them. It should however not bother your routine and hence a consultation with physiotherapist helps you understand the workout rules better and prevents a disturbing degree of soreness.