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Is there anything worse than achy, sore muscles?

Yes, actually, there is – but when you’re in the moment it doesn’t feel like it.

Sore muscles can make it difficult to sleep, work, and do normal, average, around-the-house activities. Even walking can seem like a major hurdle.

What causes these symptoms? And can anything be done to provide us with some relief?

Understanding Why Your Body Aches: What Causes Sore Muscles?

to understand what is sore muscles

Image: Public Domain U.S. Federal Government, CDC, via Wikimedia

To know how to reduce the pain you’re experiencing, you must first find out what’s causing your muscle soreness in the first place.

Typically, sore muscles are caused by tension, stress, injuries, and overuse, according to the Mayo Clinic.

You may notice that your hands and arms are sore after typing. Or, maybe your neck and shoulders are sore from looking down at your tablet or smartphone so much. And of course, let’s not forget the soreness we’ve all experienced from time to time after an exercise session.

In some cases, the pain people experience could be caused by a torn ligament, muscle, tendon, or cartilage. They may even have a serious strain or even a broken bone that they’re mistaking for severe muscle soreness.

But muscle soreness can go beyond simple tension or stress. Chronic soreness throughout the entire body could be a sign of a more serious condition. These can include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lyme disease
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Myofacial pain syndrome
  • And many more diseases and conditions.

Another cause of pain is inflammation. Many of the diseases listed above are related to inflammation in one way or another. But inflammation can also be caused by chronic stress.

If you feel stressed out all the time, your immune response is lowered and your body produces the stress and fight-or-flight hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

When these are in your system for too long or in mass quantities, they cause an inflammatory response.

Chronic inflammation can make it hard to lose weight and easy to put it on. It can also make it easier to develop inflammatory diseases like endometriosis and heart disease, as well as the conditions listed above.

And then, there’s the pain that you have to deal with. It seems to infect every part of the body, causing headaches and migraines, aching muscles, and joint pain.

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5 Ways to Reduce the Pain Once and For All

better to consult a doctor

Image: Public Domain U.S. federal government, Rhoda Baer, via Wikimedia

If you’re unsure of what’s causing your sore muscles, it’s best to talk to your doctor. They can run some tests to find the underlying cause.

In the meantime, you might try the following solutions. They may take away your pain completely, or at the very least, give you some temporary relief.

1. Make Sure You’re Getting Plenty of Magnesium  

Magnesium is a key mineral that the majority of people are severely lacking. This mineral helps reduce stress. In fact, it’s helped some people reduce their overall anxiety and lessen the severity and frequency of panic attacks.

Magnesium also helps you sleep soundly. Why is that important? It’s because sleep is the body’s time to repair and rejuvenate. If you’re dealing with insomnia your body isn’t getting the repair time it needs and that can lead to sore muscles.

To get more magnesium, take an Epsom salt bath whenever your muscles feel achy. Add a magnesium supplement – like Calm powder – to your diet regimen.

2. Reduce Your Stress Levels and Eliminate Stress Whenever Possible

This can be hard to do but it’s imperative if you want to reduce the inflammatory response in your body.

Add mindfulness and meditation practices into your daily habits. Take breaks at work. Get a good night’s sleep for a full eight hours. Find things that stress you out that you can eliminate from your life, and then take action!

3. Exercise on a Regular Basis

daily exercise

Image: CC BY 2.0, Runway Pilates, via flckr

Exercise keeps the muscles flexible. Tight muscles can lead not only to soreness but to injury as well.

Take a walk, go swimming, stroll through town on your bike – there’s a form of exercise that’s right for every person. Find what you love and do it for at least 30 minutes every day.

4. Practice Safe Exercise: Warm-Up and Stretch

Make sure when exercising that you warm-up and stretch. Adding some stretching or yoga poses to your daily routine will keep you flexible, mobile, and in good balance, all of which are essential to injury and pain prevention.

5. Eat Anti-Inflammatory, Nutrient-Dense Foods

Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Overly processed, pre-packaged foods are full of chemicals and additives that cause an inflammatory response in the body.

Avoid or limit these foods and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, as well as quality meat.

Try to go for foods that are organic and non-GMO whenever possible.

What to Do When Muscle Soreness Doesn’t Go Away On Its Own

Muscle soreness that doesn’t eventually fade away can be a sign of a serious condition.

For instance, one of the symptoms of mental illness is physical pain. Serious conditions like fibromyalgia, polio, lupus, hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism, and infections can also be contributing factors for chronic pain.

Certain drugs – both prescribed and recreational – also have this type of side effect. These include cocaine, statins, and ACE inhibitors.

It’s important, then, to talk to your doctor if your pain doesn’t start to dissipate. Doing so will not only help you find some relief – it could help you determine if you have a potentially serious illness.