Your muscles may ache right away. Acute soreness is the medical term for this. About 12 hours after exercise, you may notice that they ache or tighten. In some cases, the soreness may peak 48 to 72 hours later. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Your muscles will recover and strengthen during this period. Muscle soreness may go away immediately or remain for several days.
To relieve muscle soreness, try the following:
- Stretching should be done gently.
- Massage your muscles.
- Apply ice to the affected area to help minimize swelling.
- To help improve blood flow to the muscles, use heat. It may also be useful to take a warm bath or shower.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
- Muscle pain will be relieved with over-the-counter lotions and gels containing menthol or capsaicin.