Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can working out too much cause muscle pain?"
I work out five times a week. I'm 24 and trying to get my weight up. Recently I've experienced a lot of pain the day after working out. Is it my diet? Should I exercise less?
Delayed onset muscle pain is very common, especially after increasing the amount or intensity of your exercise or starting a new type of exercise regimen. Although it can be concerning, as long as your muscle pain is not severe or acute pain, it is your body's normal response. Your body is recovering and the pain is thought to be due to microscopic tears in your muscle fibers which are then repaired and result in hypertrophy which causes bigger muscles. This muscle pain is usually at its worst after 2 days and then slowly subsides. If the pain is severe or does not resolve, see your primary care provider. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the pain after a workout. The first is to warm up before beginning your exercise program and to cool down and stretch once it is over. You can try icing your sore muscles after exercise to reduce the pain and inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen can help as well. Massage and yoga are also a good way to recuperate. You may also choose to just wait a few days before starting up your exercise program to allow your muscles to recover. The most important thing is to listen to your body to avoid injury. Again, please talk to your doctor for more information.
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