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Post Yoga Soreness - Causes, Management, and Prevention.

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Muscles can get sore and achy after yoga, and the intensity of discomfort and duration varies from person to person, depending on the nature of yoga performed.

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At January 24, 2023
Reviewed AtJune 5, 2023

Introduction

Any activity that impacts the muscles can cause muscle soreness, called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It usually begins 12 to 24 hours after doing yoga and may reach the peak by about 24 to 72 hours post-exercise. The intensity of soreness depends on the nature of yoga poses, the extent of stretching, and the number of repetitions.

What Causes Muscle Soreness After Doing Yoga?

Yoga is a low-impact exercise. But it can cause eccentric muscle action due to the lengthening of muscles under gentle force. Eccentric action occurs when the force applied to the muscles exceeds the momentary force produced by the muscle. It can cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers and the surrounding connective tissues. The minor tears in the muscle fibers can cause inflammation and shifting of electrolytes and fluids. The body starts to repair the damage, and it may be felt as soreness. DOMS is normal, but a medical professional should immediately take care of visible swelling and severe joint pain or discomfort. Anyone can get DOMS, even those who have been doing yoga for years. As the body adapts to the exercise, the intensity of soreness decreases. A reasonable amount of pain indicates that the muscles got a good workout. Over time, the individual feels stronger and toned.

How to Manage Muscle Soreness After Practicing Yoga?

The muscle soreness is normal after any workout and goes on its own. But it can be made less painful and quickly vanish by following some measures.

  • Being Gentle and Slow: Things should be taken slowly in case of any workouts. Yoga itself is a slow and relaxing practice. But overdoing and extensively moving or stretching at the beginning can be dangerous. Beginners can initially consider doing yoga sessions three times a week and gradually increasing the number of sessions. The same can be regarded in the number of times the poses or workouts are repeated. This will allow muscles to adapt to the new stress and thus reduces the severity of symptoms.

  • Getting Good Quality Sleep: During sleep, especially the deep sleep phase, the body produces growth hormones, which will heal and repair the injuries. The damaged muscle fibers may also get rebuilt while sleeping. Therefore, adequate quality and quantity of sleep create the best environment to recover from DOMS. It also helps to increase muscle growth and fitness gradually.

  • Staying Hydrated: Taking fluids can keep the body hydrated. It can reduce muscle soreness, increases energy, and improves focus and concentration. It also improves body function and performance.

  • Stretching: Stretching before and after yoga sessions can prevent injuries and reduce muscle soreness. Gentle warming up wakes up the muscles by slowly increasing the blood flow. Stretching post-yoga sessions can help to reduce stiffness and discomfort.

  • Aquatic Therapy: Aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy involves special exercises in a warm water pool. The warmth of the water allows the muscles to relax and reduces the pain. It can slowly increase the range of movements of the joints and muscle strength.

  • Cold and Hot Treatments: Applying cold in the form of ice massage, cold packs, or cold water hydrotherapy can minimize swelling and pain. Heat interventions like hot packs or warm water hydrotherapy lessen the pain and enhance faster recovery. An alternative application of heat and cold stimulates blood flow and reduces swelling and pain.

  • Foam Rolling: Foam rolling is a type of massaging using foam rollers, where the individual uses their body mass to press and massage the soft tissues. Foam rolling is a self-induced massaging technique that relieves pain and swelling by increasing circulation.

  • Muscle Massaging: Massaging can improve blood and lymphatic flow. Massaging the muscle areas after yoga sessions can reduce muscle soreness and swelling.

  • Topical Analgesics: Over-the-counter analgesic creams and gels can provide immediate relief. Muscle rubs can easily be available in local drug stores.

  • Pain Reliever: Over-the-counter pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (Ibuprofen) can relieve the symptoms.

  • Using Proper Technique: Doing yoga poses the right way is essential. A slight change in the technique can strain the muscles, causing injuries.

When to See the Doctor?

Local muscle pain is the common symptom of delayed onset muscle soreness. However, it also shows other signs, like:

  • Visible swelling.

  • Joint stiffness.

  • Temporary reduction in joint movements.

  • Tenderness to the touch.

  • Temporary reduction in the affected muscle strength.

  • In rare cases, muscle breakdown affects the kidneys.

  • Muscle tissue damage causes an increased level of enzyme creatine kinase.

In usual cases, DOMS require no medical treatment. But if the pain severely affects the individual's quality of life and other symptoms start showing up, it is essential to seek medical help.

How to Prevent Post-yoga Soreness?

The following measures can achieve prevention of post-yoga soreness:

  • Progressing slowly in the new program.

  • Giving active rest days every week.

  • Following the yoga movements consistently, gradually increasing the repetitions and durations.

  • Proper warm-up to prepare the muscles.

  • Gently stretching before winding up the session.

  • Following the technique correctly.

  • Taking help from an instructor if the individual is a beginner.

  • Refraining from the activity for a few days if the symptoms become severe or persist.

Conclusion

No pain, No gain. A new yoga session will cause soreness. Since post-yoga soreness is not an abnormality, it is essential to judiciously follow the workout routine each day to make the muscles adapt to the training. The soreness will stay out of the way when the individual adapts to the yoga practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Is the Reason for Muscle Soreness?

The various causes of muscle soreness are as follows:
- Tension.
- Stress.
- Overuse of muscles.
- Small muscle injuries.
- Prolonged or repetitive physical activity.
- Nutritional deficiency.
- Dehydration.
- Sleep deficiency.

2.

What Are the Ways to Get Rid of Muscle Pain?

The following methods can be used to get rid of muscle pain:
- Gentle stretching - It can help relieve muscle pain.
- Massage - It will relax the muscles.
- Rest - It is important to avoid excessive physical activity and give the muscles some rest.
- Ice - It helps relieve inflammation.
- OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers - Medicines such as Ibuprofen (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs)can relieve the pain. However, if the pain increases, it is best advised to consult a doctor.
 

3.

How to Avoid Muscular Aches?

It is important to practice the following tips to avoid aching muscles caused by stress, tension, and strenuous physical exercise:
- Exercising regularly to keep muscles toned, warming up before exercise.
- Stretching before working out.
- Cooling down after the workout.
Most muscle aches are harmless, but chronic symptoms may demand medical treatment.

4.

How Can You Distinguish Between Muscle Strain and Muscle Soreness?

Muscular soreness may not be noticeable for a day or two. A pulled or strained muscle, on the other hand, typically generates immediate pain. The most prevalent causes of muscular soreness are DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and tendonitis (tendon inflammation). 
They are muscle injuries caused by exercise that cause muscular discomfort. Rest, application of ice, compression, and elevation are commonly used at home to treat it. However, an acute localized pain that limits the mobility of the muscle, reduces the range of motion or is accompanied by significant weakening could signal a serious injury that requires treatment.

5.

How to Relieve Discomfort in the Muscles?

The following measures can be taken to relieve the discomfort in the muscles:
- Rest and elevate the sore spot. 
- Take pain medicines (Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen) 
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salts or a hot shower. 
- Alternate between ice packs and heat to minimize inflammation and increase blood flow. 

6.

What Are the Ways to Reduce Post-workout Muscle Soreness?

Moving the muscles is one of the best ways to alleviate muscular discomfort. The following ways are advised to reduce muscle discomfort after exercise:
- Take an OTC pain reliever.
- Begin a new workout program gradually.
- Always warm up before the workout.
- Take a warm saltwater bath.
- Try a split-day schedule.
- Allow for recovery time.

7.

What Distinguishes Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) From Muscle Fatigue?

DOMS, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, is a sore, aching, and painful sensation in the muscles caused by unfamiliar vigorous exertion. It is a muscular spasm due to transient muscle injury and inflammation. 
Muscle fatigue is soreness or discomfort of the muscle due to strenuous exercise. It usually takes a day or two to notice it and eventually goes away with rest.

8.

Why Does Muscular Ache Feel Good?

Muscle soreness is a pleasant aching sensation after an exercise caused by microscopic muscle tears in the muscles. These micro-tears cause the muscles to develop and overcompensate for the previous workout, so they renew, generating new muscle fiber that strengthens the muscle further.
Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra

Nutritionist

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