What Causes Muscle Soreness After a Workout?

What Causes Muscle Soreness After a Workout?

Feb 01, 2024

If you have ever pushed yourself during a workout, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced muscle soreness afterward. While it’s a common effect of physical exertion, muscle soreness can sometimes cause undue worry about injuries that require prompt care from an emergency room in Temple or other medical facilities in the area. Understanding typical muscle soreness versus more serious causes of pain can help you know if and when to seek emergency care.

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the muscle pain and stiffness that sets in 12-24 hours after exercising your muscles harder than normal. This soreness stems from tiny microtears within the muscle fibers caused by the exertion of an intense or new workout routine. It’s a natural result of the muscle repair and strengthening process. As your body rebuilds those microscopic muscle tears to adapt to the strain, inflammation and soreness can temporarily result.

Managing Typical Muscle Soreness

For most people completing moderate workouts, some degree of soreness is inevitable when pushing your body’s limits. However, various self-care remedies can help alleviate discomfort:

  • Continue light activity: Gentle cardio, stretching, and yoga aid healing.
  • Prioritize sleep and nutrition: Muscle repair requires rest and protein.
  • Apply hot/cold therapy: Alternate hot packs and cold compresses.
  • Consider OTC medication: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief.
  • Schedule rest days: Allow muscles adequate time between intense sessions.

These self-care approaches, along with gradually ramping up workout intensity, can help manage soreness. Allowing 24-72 hours between hitting the same major muscle groups helps avoid overtraining them. Remaining moderately active, with light cardio or stretching during soreness peaks, also aids recovery.

Seeking Emergency Care for Severe Muscle Pain

While moderate muscle soreness usually subsides within a few days, excessive, persistent, or worsening pain may signal a more serious issue requiring prompt medical evaluation. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Pain lasting longer than 3 days
  • Inability to walk normally
  • Visible bruising, swelling, redness
  • Joint instability, loss of flexibility
  • Severe localized pain or spasms

If your muscle soreness includes these red flags or impedes daily tasks, visiting an ER near you becomes advisable. The experienced physicians at Express ER Temple provide prompt, thorough care seven days a week for sprains, strains, and other urgent injuries. Their onsite X-ray, CT, and ultrasound capabilities allow accurate diagnostics and tailored treatment plans.

Potential Causes of Severe Muscle Pain

An ER doctor can pinpoint the underlying cause of worrisome muscle pain and recommend appropriate therapies. Possible diagnoses include:

  • Muscle strain
  • Ligament sprain
  • Stress fracture
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve compression

Diagnostic testing available in most emergency rooms can check for these and other alarming causes of pain needing prompt care.

Don’t Ignore Persistent Muscle Discomfort

Ultimately, muscle soreness is a common side effect of physical exertion. However, severe, worsening, or prolonged pain can potentially indicate dangerous medical conditions requiring emergency treatment. Don’t hesitate to visit the nearest emergency room if your symptoms concern you. The skilled physicians at Express ER Temple can promptly evaluate severe muscle pain and provide effective relief when self-care falls short. Monitoring troubling symptoms and seeking care when appropriate helps ensure your long-term health.

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