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Common Sports Injury - Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness is a common sports injury. Caused by working too hard for too long, muscle soreness is not only painful; it can also cause restricted range of motion. Muscle aches can strike during the latter stages of exercise, immediately after exercise, or 12 to 48 hours after exercise. No matter when the aches hit, there are steps you can take to ease the pain. Better yet, there are ways to prevent muscle aches all together.

Remedies for muscle soreness:
1. Ice - Ice your muscles to reduce inflammation. A bag of ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen peas makes a great cold compress. Apply the ice no more than 20 minutes per hour.

2. Acetaminophen - The pain reliever found in Tylenol works well on muscle aches. Ask your doctor about taking an over the counter medication or giving it to your child and follow the directions on the package carefully.

3. Fluids - Replenishing lost fluids is important, and electrolyte/carbohydrate drinks like Gatorade are good picks for the cooler. When digested, the carbohydrates found in these drinks are converted into glycogen, which acts as a fuel for muscles.

4. Vitamin C - Eating an orange after a game or practice may reduce day after pain. When your muscles are overused during exercise, they produce agents (free radicals) that can damage tissue. Antioxidants like vitamin C may absorb these agents before they cause any problems.

5. Massage - Massaging aching muscles promotes circulation and increases production of serotonin, a compound produced in the brain that has a pain-killing effect. Never massage joints! That can cause further damage.

6. Warm bath - For temporary relief, a warm bath will have a soothing effect as it relaxes the muscles and promotes circulation.

To avoid muscle aches and pains all together, be sure to know your limits - don't overdo it! Focus on proper conditioning. And always stretch before physical exertion. Don't stretch too far or too quickly - and never bounce or stretch to the point of pain. Improper stretching can cause injuries; be sure to only stretch to the point of a comfortable pull and hold stretches for about 20 seconds, repeating the stretch about five times.



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