What Are the Causes of Sore Muscles?

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Strength training is a great weight to maintain a proper weight. However, many people begin a strength training regimen only to be frustrated by tired, sore muscles. Many people give up strength training because of the muscle soreness, but having knowledge about muscle soreness can actually help you continue with your health goals.

Muscle Basics

When you engage your muscle in strenuous activity like weight lifting, you are actually tearing your muscle fibers. These muscle fibers rip and shred along the whole muscle. The muscle fibers will grow back larger and thicker, increasing your muscle size and strength.

What causes muscle soreness?
What causes muscle soreness?

Muscle Soreness

Most people believe that lactic acid causes muscle soreness because that was the findings of scientists many years ago. Lactic acid is the culprit for immediate muscle soreness. When you are lifting weights, for example, the muscle you are working will burn, and it will eventually feel fatigued. The burning sensation comes from the lactic acid being flushed into your muscle.

However, muscle soreness that sets in 24 to 48 hours after a workout is not due to lactic acid. Instead, this pain comes from sacs of fluid that rest upon your nerve endings. Because the muscles have been torn, they immediately begin the process of repair. These sacs of fluid form to protect the muscle, and the pressure on your nerves causes your muscle pain.


Muscle soreness usually lasts no more than seven days. If your muscles are sore for more than a week, you should see a doctor. First-time weight lifters almost always suffer from severe muscle soreness. However, it helps to know that muscle soreness will decrease the more you work out. Don't let muscle soreness discourage you from continuing to exercise.

Don't give up.
Don't give up.


To relieve muscle soreness, apply a muscle rub like Icy Hot. Light massage also helps alleviate muscle soreness. An over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen can also decrease muscle pain. Some athletes even claim that ice baths relieve muscle soreness.


Always consult a physician before engaging in an exercise program, and make sure you learn the proper techniques to weight lifting before you begin a regimen. This will decrease injury. If you do have muscle soreness, avoid using the sore muscle group as much as possible. You should alternate body parts when working out so that muscles will have time to repair.

Muscle soreness can be painful.
Muscle soreness can be painful.

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