Understanding aches and pains: tips to prevent and relieve them

We have all experienced muscular pain after an intense sporting activity or after making a sustained and unusual effort. These are the famous aches and pains! Are they a sign that we have worked hard physically, or rather that we have overstressed our body? In this article, we will look into the situation further to help you better understand muscle soreness. Of course, we’ll give you tips on how to prevent them, as well as how to relieve them when they do occur.

Why am I aching?

Stiffness is caused by micro-tears in the muscle fibres that occur when a muscle is stretched or overused. These tears trigger inflammation in the muscles, causing pain and stiffness.

When the muscle repairs itself, it becomes stronger and more resistant to effort. This is why muscle soreness can be considered a sign of muscle growth. It is also more common in people who are involved in strenuous physical activity or who have recently returned to exercise after a period of inactivity.

How to prevent aches and pains?

Warm up before exercise

An active warm-up is recommended before any sport that involves muscles. This involves increasing the heart rate and body temperature, which promotes better blood flow to the muscles. Warming up before training should not be confused with stretching, which should be done afterwards. 

Stretch after exercise

Stretching can help prevent muscle soreness by improving muscle flexibility and reducing tension in the muscles. However, recent studies have shown that dynamic stretching (rather than static stretching) is best. They consist of movements similar to those used in sports, but with less intensity. This period of active stretching is also called the cool down.

Increase the intensity of the exercise gradually

If you are new to an activity or exercise, or if you are increasing the intensity of your workout, take it slow. Increasing the intensity gradually gives your muscles time to adapt.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is important for maintaining good muscle health. Muscles need good hydration to function properly, so make sure you drink enough before, during and after exercise.

Eat a balanced diet

Protein, carbohydrates and fat are all important for maintaining good muscle health. Protein helps rebuild muscle fibres after exercise, while carbohydrates provide the fuel needed to keep the musculoskeletal system functioning properly.

Relieving aches and pains: Tips

Even if you take the necessary precautions, it is possible and quite normal that you will sometimes experience aches and pains. Here are some strategies to relieve them if the need arises:


Use cold therapy

Apply a cold compress to the painful area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can use an ice pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a cold towel to make a cold compress. Apply the compress for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Cold therapy is well known for relieving muscle pain.


Use heat therapy

Heat can also help relieve aches and pains by improving blood circulation and reducing muscle tension. You can use a hot water bottle, heating pad or hot bath to apply heat to the sore area.


Massage the painful area

Gentle massage can help relieve muscle pain, particularly by reducing tension. You can use your hands or a massage roller to gently massage the painful area.


Adopt an active lifestyle

When you engage in regular physical activity, your body adapts to the strain it is under. This greatly reduces the chances of you getting sore after a more sustained effort.

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