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By Alan Knight

Yes, we all deal with sore muscles.  It is not the worst case of physical maladies, but we hate it none the less.  It not only creates nagging pain, but it also immobilizes us to an extent.  If it is alters our lifestyle negatively, and limits our ability to function normally, we want it to stop.  It may be common, but it is uncommonly annoying.  Let's take a look at how it comes about, how it affects us and how we can deal with it.

Let's first examine what causes muscle soreness, cramps, sprains and strains.  General soreness after exertion (Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is typically caused by micro tears in the muscle.  Over time as the muscles rebuild themselves stronger to accommodate the activity, soreness should decrease.  A muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.  It can be linked to a variety of causes, including:

         Exercise, injury or overuse
         Blood flow problems
         Lack of minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium
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         Dehydration (we see this a lot with athletes)
         Certain medications

A muscle “sprain” is an injury to a ligament (tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint.)  In a sprain, one or more ligaments is stretched or torn.  A muscle “strain” is an injury to a muscle or a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bones).  In a strain, a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.  Sprains and strains are generally caused by trauma (falls, twists, impacts or overuse.)

Always remember, if pain is severe or incapacitating, please see your health care professional.  This blog is for information only, and is not intended to replace trained medical advice.

Let's look at some “common sense” home treatments for sore muscles:

REST.  Sometimes the best thing one can do is to do nothing at all.  If you rest up for a couple of days, general muscle soreness should pass on its own.  Of course, for many of us, when things get busy at work or in the garden, rest isn't easy to come by, so do what works best for you.

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MOVEMENT.  If you're just stiff and sore, more of what got you that way may be the answer.  Over time, your muscles will build and strengthen and you'll be able to do more with less discomfort.  I know if I sit too much (like researching and writing this blog), I get awfully stiff.  Just getting up and moving around and doing some gentle stretching works wonders.  Our muscles tend to want to stay doing whatever they're doing unless we force them to change.  If you're tensed up, they'll stay tensed until you do something about it.  Stand up, walk, run, stretch, and do gardening – do whatever you can to be active so you can stay active as you age.

EPSOM SALTS.  I know what you're thinking.  “That's an old fashioned remedy.”  Well, it may be but it sure seems to work.  Tried and true, a cup or two of Epsom salt dissolved in a warm tub of water works wonders for aching muscles.  Use warm, not hot, water.  Warm water will dry out your skin less than hot water.  Soak for 15 minutes or until the water has cooled, up to three times per week.  Not recommended for those with health conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.  How does Epsom salt work?  Epsom salt is made of magnesium sulfate.  Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, and as a salt they may help to pull excess fluids out of the tissues, reducing swelling.

Check out this short video on Warm Water therapy.

One of the more entertaining “folk” remedies for treating sore muscles is that of consuming APPLE CIDER VINEGAR.  Those who recommend it suggest mixing a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and drinking it down, or even taking it straight like a shot.  A variation of this is a fellow who drank raw pickle juice and achieved similar results.  But I digress...

PROPER DIET is always good advice for dealing with almost any physical problem.  Plan a diet that includes keeping hydrated.  If your muscles are sore from intense activities such as weightlifting, your muscles are rebuilding themselves, needing water and lots of protein.  Aim to take 1   gram of protein per day for ever pound of lean body mass you have.  Here is an example, a 160 lb. Man at 20% body fat would want to take in approximately 130 grams of protein per day.  This will speed up recovery time considerably, as well as prevent muscle loss from poor nutrition.  Take protein 15 to 45 minutes after workout for best results.  Another thing, drink lots of water while you work out and throughout the day.  Your muscles need water to function at their peak, and your body needs water to repair your muscles.

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MASSAGE your muscles.  When you exercise to exhaustion, tiny tears occur in muscle fibers.  The body's natural response to these tears is inflammation.  Massage helps reduce the amount of cytokines the body produces, which plays a role in inflammation.  Massage also seems to increase the amount of mitochondria in your muscle, which enhances the muscles' ability to extract oxygen.  Two things I recommend:  First seek out a good massage therapist and allow them to work on your sore muscles.  Massage therapy is relaxing, meditative, and healing.  Second, learn to massage the muscles yourself.  Depending on location of the soreness, you can try to give yourself a massage.  Use a combination of your thumbs, knuckles and palms to work deep into the muscle tissue.  If you are massaging a sore muscle, don't focus on the middle of the sore muscle.  Focus more on the connections at each end.  This will help the muscle to relax more quickly.  If the muscles are along the back and neck, see a massage therapist.  These areas are dangerous to massage with proper training.

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THE WALK IN TUB has done more to relieve sore muscles than any modern medical device that has come along in recent years.  First, it is designed for comfort and safety.  Each tub is built to stand upright so there is no stepping down into a deep (below floor level) spa.  It has a water-tight door for entry and a low threshold (approximately 6 inches) for entering the tub.  This was designed to eliminate the possibility of falling while entering the tub or exiting.  The seat inside the tub is ADA compliant and is contoured for the back and comfort.  The tub is filled with warm water to soothe the body, but offers the added bonus of air jets and water jets to massage the body.  The water jets can be adjusted to reach any part of the body and the massage action is thorough.  A few minutes in a Walk in Tub can truly make a difference for those dealing with sore muscles.  Many athletes find the Walk in Tub to be a life saver.

Yes, we all deal with aching muscles, but we don't have to suffer.  There are solutions so don't give up or give in to pain.

In this article I have discussed several way to deal with muscle aches and pains along with ways to reduce your overall pain levels as well. These include nutrition, diet, soaking in Epson salts, massage and water therapy with a walk-in tub.

Would you like to receive a FREE COPY of our new ebook? – “Tub King's Ultimate Guide to Cast Iron/Porcelain Tubs, Walk-in Tubs & Safety Suite Showers” Fill in the form below and we will send it to you for free! It is also for sale and you can see/buy it on by clicking on this link.

Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville,  Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. In addition to providing superior products, Tub King has been honored with “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Awards” for four years running. If you would like to contact Alan Knight, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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