House Calls

SPR 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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body and mind 18 { spring 2019 } h o u s e c a l l s EASE THE ACHE C hances are you're familiar with the dull, achy feeling of sore muscles. But if you think all bouts of soreness are created equal—or that the sorer you are the better the workout was for your body—think again. Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated sports medicine doctor Kenneth Caldwell says that, indeed, mild soreness brought on by an appropriate level of weight or resistance training is a healthy indicator that the muscles are getting stronger. "When a muscle is challenged slightly beyond it's current capacity, nerve endings within the muscle signal a neurological pain response, which can lead to mild, dull aches lasting up to 48 hours," explains Dr. Caldwell. "That's a normal sensation resulting from muscular fatigue—and one that a muscle can recover from quickly. When you do that a repeated number of times, you will see an increase in the strength and capacity of the muscle." Sometimes, however, soreness can be a sign that you've pushed too far. When a muscle is grossly overtaxed or overused— like when you lift weights that are too heavy or perform too many repetitions— microscopic tearing can occur. "You actually bleed on a microscopic level into the muscle," Dr. Caldwell explains. "And anytime you have bleeding, that ignites an inflammatory response." Red flags include extreme soreness that persists for three days or longer, muscles that are tender to the touch, or a bruise (the latter could reflect a more substantial injury to the muscle). The top takeaways? Use caution when diving into a new weight- training routine (like during a high-intensity group fitness class that pushes you past your safe limits), pull back if your muscles show signs of injury, seek help from an expert if you're wary of how to weight train properly, and—last but not least—embrace mild soreness as a healthy indication that your body is getting stronger. Body Talk A Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated sports medicine doctor sheds light on why our muscles experience soreness—and how to best relieve the discomfort when it strikes – B Y M O L L Y R A M S E Y Try these tips to help prevent injury and to minimize the discomfort of sore muscles Add variety. "A good way to ward off soreness due to overuse is to work different muscle groups on different days—like the upper body one day, the lower body the next, and the core the next," says Dr. Caldwell. Apply pressure and heat. Foam rollers (which are sold online and at most athletic stores) act like an at-home massage, says Dr. Caldwell. The massage-like pressure stimulates blood flow to the muscle, which in turn relaxes it. Don't have a roller? A warm shower or heating pad can have a similar effect. Don't skip stretching. Gentle stretching can both prevent and relieve pain from soreness, says Dr. Caldwell. It also increases flexibility, which can lessen your risk of joint or muscular injury.

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