The Top Causes of Muscle Soreness

Almost everyone has experienced body aches. They can put a damper on anyone’s mood and make even the simplest tasks more tedious. But stopping muscle aches when you don’t know what’s causing them can be difficult. By simply knowing the top causes of muscle soreness, you can arm yourself against pain and put a stop to it.

Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Simply put, delayed-onset muscle soreness is muscle pain that occurs one to three days after strenuous physical exertion such as a workout or physical labor. The pain is usually localized to the areas that went through the exertion (e.g., if you were running, your legs may hurt. If you were lifting boxes, your arms and back may hurt, et cetera). The best way to avoid DOMS is to take preemptive action. Stretching before and after a workout goes a long way toward preventing or lessening muscle soreness, as does staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.


Injuries of all types, falls, and surgeries are naturally painful—not only in the moment, but also in the days, weeks, and even years after. For recent injuries, rest is the most important strategy for treatment. After this, elevating the injury, compression, and ice are all effective for bringing relief. If an old injury has been plaguing you, it may be time to seek physical therapy for relief.

Health Conditions

A number of medical conditions may cause you to experience muscle pain. One of the more common chronic health conditions behind muscle pain is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is best treated with a combination of medication, physical therapy, and self-care, such as sleeping well and exercise. Chronic issues aren’t the only health reasons behind muscle pain, though. Even a bad case of the flu can make you sore. In this case, simple rest, hydration, and medicine are the only solutions.

Tension & Stress

If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, it’s possible you’re holding tension in your muscles without even noticing it. When you’re stressed, your body goes into a natural “fight or flight” response because it’s tensed for action, even if there aren’t any physical actions to take. Because this is a physical pain stemming from psychological distress, it’s best to go about curing it from both angles. Identify where in your body you’re holding tension—common areas are the shoulders, neck, feet, hands, and hips—and practice releasing tension from those areas. If you have been holding the tension for a long time, releasing it without outside aid may be difficult. Getting a massage from an in-person masseuse or from one of our TruMedic massagers is an excellent method for tension relief. After this, identifying the causes of your distress and working through it will help your body hold less tension in the future.

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