How to relieve sore muscles after a workout
(Last Updated On: 2019-08-18)

What are sore muscles?

Playing tennis is taxing since a lot of muscles and movements are involved to pull off a shot. By the end of the game, it is not only the tennis racquets that start to show signs of rigorous use. Your muscles also start to swell up and sore.

Sometimes, the muscles become sore right after the match, while some people experience aches and pain in their muscles seventy-two hours after playing. Usually, the muscles in your wrists, upper thighs and buttocks are affected the most.

This pain is not pleasant, but luckily, there are many home remedies which you can use to reduce the soreness and get relief from the pain. While there are treatments for sore muscles and you can always consult a physician, reducing the pain on your own is an additional step you can take. Below is a list of remedies you can try at home to get relief from the effects of playing tennis.

13 Home Remedies for Sore Muscles After Playing Tennis

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking a sufficient amount of water before and during a tennis match is important to keep the sores and cramps at bay. This is because when you play tennis or work out, you sweat a lot and excessive sweating makes you dehydrated. Your muscles also start to give up because of the heat produced during strenuous exercises and exertion. Besides soreness, most tennis players get cramps due to changes in sodium and potassium concentrations in the muscles.[1]

Staying hydrated prevents the soreness and cramps in muscles, so whenever you are about to play, make sure you have sufficient water intake. Even as you play, try drinking water every now and then.

Apply Magnesium

Muscle relaxants can be great for dealing with sore muscles. For those of you who do not want artificial muscle relaxants, magnesium is an excellent natural alternative. It helps reduce inflammation. Topical magnesium can be directly applied onto the sore muscles.

You can even use magnesium oil. This oil comes in a spray bottle, making it easy to apply. Simply spray it onto the area which feels sore. As it is a salt, just be careful that you do not use it on a wound or else it will sting you. [2]

Use Epsom Salt

Epsom salt reduces inflammation, which is why many athletic people like taking a hot Epsom salt bath. Soaking in these salts helps alleviate any muscle pain you might feel in any part of your body after you are done playing tennis. Dissolve one or two cups of Epsom salt in a bathtub with nice, warm water and dip your body in it. Relax and let the salt do the trick. [3]

Eat Food Containing Magnesium

Just as fluctuations in electrolytes like sodium and potassium lead to inflammation, drops in magnesium levels can lead to sore muscles and cramps. In addition to applying magnesium topically as a muscle relaxant, you can fulfill the requirements of your body by eating foods rich in magnesium.

Popeye got strong and sturdy muscles as he gulped down a can of spinach, and that is where you can start looking for magnesium too. Spinach contains a high quantity of magnesium and so do molasses, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews and almonds. If you are planning to play tennis, try to incorporate some magnesium-rich food items into your diet.

Use Heat Therapy

Treating sore muscles with heat helps reduce pain and even prevent muscle soreness in the future. What you can do is take a hot shower right after you play tennis so that you can prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You can also try placing warm cloth pieces on the affected area if you do not feel like taking a shower.

Moist heat therapy gives better results than dry heat therapy. Even if you do not want to take a shower, you can always apply a wet heating pad or use warm, damp towels. [4]

Use Cold Therapy

Just like heat therapy, cold therapy can also be used to treat sore muscles. Cold therapy or cryotherapy is efficient at relieving pain in muscles. It does so by calming down the sensory nerves that sense pain. Applying a cold pack to your sore muscles will reduce swelling in the area and slow down the nerve activity.

Just like hot showers are more effective than dry applications of heat, taking a cold shower relieves pain faster than applying a cold pack or ice cubes to the affected muscles.

Sleep to Reduce Soreness

Sleeping is one of the easiest ways in which you can allow your muscles to recover naturally. After playing tennis for a while, especially if you have taken it up only recently and your muscles had been inactive for a while, it is only normal to feel sore. This happens due to the tearing of muscles as you maneuver to give your best shot. The tears in the muscles need some time to heal, so you need to give them time to let them recover on their own.

As you sleep, you give your body time to heal itself. Our bodies produce hormones that help build up muscles after they become worn out. Therefore, it is vital that you sleep for a while so that your muscles can build-up for the next match.

Move Your Muscles

Often, your muscles start to hurt because you do not use them frequently. Think of it this way: a cog in a wheel starts to rust if it is not used at all, making it difficult to turn. Similarly, when your muscles are not used frequently, they become sore when you begin to use them all of a sudden.

Hence, it is recommended that you try moving about a bit or do some exercises regularly. As you use your muscles often, they will become accustomed to the activity. The soreness will not only go away but hardly ever come back if you plan to play tennis regularly. In case you feel intense pain, switch to exercises which use muscles other than the ones that are inflamed.

Massage with Essential Oils

Massages are excellent at relieving your muscle pain and soreness. When you massage your wrists or other muscles which are actively engaged as you play tennis, it increases blood flow to that area and stimulates blood circulation.

You can learn to do a massage on your own and use essential oils for this purpose. Not only does it reduce muscle pain, but it also helps you perform better. Use essential oils that are fit for topical application or consider applying a blend of essential oils and carrier oils to the affected area. Either let them stay for a while before massaging or directly message them onto the sore muscles. [6]

Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet

Consuming coconut oil also helps reduce inflammation. A great way to add it to your diet is by cooking food in it or using it as a dressing for salads.

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

You can drink two spoons of apple cider or mix it in a glass of water if you can’t stand its sour taste. You can even directly apply it to the area which feels sore if you do not want to consume it at all.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Food

Anti-inflammatory food helps alleviate muscle soreness. You can find such food in abundance. Some of these foods are listed below:

  • Pineapple
  • Ginger
  • Cherry juice
  • Watermelon

The substances in these foods increase muscle strength so that they can endure more strenuous activities and let you play tennis with more confidence. For instance, cherry juice contains antioxidants, watermelon has amino acids and pineapple contains an enzyme that helps reduce muscle soreness.

Do Some Stretches

Consider doing stretches after you finish playing tennis. There are a number of such exercises that you can find on the internet. Doing some warm-up exercises before you start to play can also reduce the chances of being sore later. Remember, keep your muscles working if you want to avoid pain.

Summary

Sore muscles are common if you play tennis. Remember the last time you played the game. You might have had a fun time giving your best shots and felt happy as you beat your friend. However, that euphoria only lasts for a while as your muscles start to become tense and sore and the pain becomes excruciating. You, like all of us, then look for a quick fix for your cramps so that you can get rid of the pain.

Nothing sounds as pleasing as a home remedy to relieve the pain. From foods and baths to massages and oils, the list of remedies is endless. Try any of the methods mentioned above and happily look forward to another tennis match where you do not end up having sore muscles and pain.

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