BRAUN: No ice, no painkillers for exercise-stressed muscles

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The gyms were closed for a long time. during the pandemic.

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People are finally getting back to their old training habits, and now they have the sore muscles to show for it.

A recent article on delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, in the Washington Post helps explain that this seemingly simple type of post-exercise muscle strain actually involves complex muscle reaction and adaptation.

DOMS is a normal process of muscle adaptation; the pain appears 24-72 hours after training.

DOMS occurs when the muscle lengthens or contracts; the Mail gives the example of lowering the weight into a biceps curl.

Muscle pain does not usually occur during the shortening movement.

If you do something the muscles aren’t used to, microscopic tears occur in the membrane of the muscle fiber. This causes a chemical chain reaction, the Mail he reported, “including dysregulated fiber contractions, an influx of immune cells, and swelling and pressure buildup.”

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The end result is a repair process that actually uses inflammation to help strengthen and regenerate muscle.

It’s helpful to know about this, so you can be careful not to overdo it. If you have aches and pains after a workout, you know it’s normal and not a reason to stop exercising.

One way to avoid soreness is to slowly return to regular workouts and progress to your previous level over time. Book your workout with warm-up and cool-down stretches.

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But if you end up with DOMS, what to do?

The natural response might be to ice your muscles or take a pain reliever, but experts no longer recommend either: DOMS involves muscle repair and growth, and it’s best not to get in the way.

Foam rolling or massage is a better option.

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And you need to take some time to recover. You should keep moving, but do alternate exercises and give the affected muscles a rest until the pain subsides in a few days.

A new study conducted in Japan and published in the New York Times tested the ice-free theory with laboratory mice.

Research found that muscles left alone after overexertion repaired and recovered with the help of pro-inflammatory cells, much faster than muscles that were frozen. Even after two weeks, the frozen muscles showed persistent molecular signs of tissue damage and incomplete healing.

“Icing delays healthy inflammatory responses,” said Takamitsu Arakawa, a professor of medicine at the Kobe University School of Health Sciences. He supervised the study.

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As for Tylenol/Advil/Aleve: forget it. There are countless studies showing how over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interfere with natural processes by reducing inflammation.

A study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explained the role of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) as a crucial inflammatory mediator of muscle stem cells, the building blocks of muscle regeneration.

And it states that NSAIDs, commonly used to treat pain after muscle injury, “inhibit PGE2 synthesis, hinder muscle regeneration, and lead to weakened muscles.”

NSAIDs may even be implicated in chronic pain, according to a new Canadian study on the role of inflammation in healing published in Science Translational Medicine.

“General muscle soreness caused by strength training only treats itself over time,” said Kurt Luczak, owner of the F45 Ossington fitness center in Toronto.

“And making funny sounds when you go up and down stairs,” he joked.

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