Everyone experiences occasional muscle aches. However, when muscle soreness is more the rule than the exception, it can interfere with daily life and cause sufferers to turn to long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications. It’s important to understand that there are drug-free treatment option for muscle soreness.
Common Causes of Muscle Aches
People experience muscles aches for different reasons. A few of the most common reasons include:
— Overuse of muscles
— Intense physical labor
In some cases, muscle aches can be caused by diseases such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. A physician or physiotherapist can help you determine the root cause of your pain.
3 Ways Physiotherapy Reduces Muscle Soreness
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for muscle aches. After determining the cause of a patient’s discomfort, a physiotherapist may use the following modalities to treat sore muscles:
1) Ultrasound — Different from diagnostic ultrasound, ultrasound used by physiotherapists heats soft tissues. “Deep heating tendons, muscles or ligaments increases circulation to those tissues, which is thought to help the healing process. Increasing tissue temperature with ultrasound is also used to help decrease pain,” stated Therapeutic Ultrasound in Physical Therapy. Also, ultrasound helps to loosen tight muscles.
2) Deep tissue massage — Many physiotherapists provide or recommend massage therapy for patients who deal with muscle soreness. Massage not only feels good in in the moment, but it also reduces the inflammation that causes muscles to be tender. Additionally, it releases muscle tension and improves blood flow, which promotes healing.
3) Heat/cold therapy — Application of heat and cold can significantly cut down on muscle soreness. “Heat therapy increases blood flow and brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, while cold therapy slows circulation, helping to reduce inflammation and pain,” per Practical Pain Management. While heat/cold therapy can be used at home, a physiotherapist is the best source for learning how to effectively use this treatment for pain relief.
Sometimes, muscle aches can be caused by severe stress which leads to painful muscle tension. By lowering cortisol levels, reducing sensitivity to stress, and improving sleep, physiotherapy can help to quell muscle soreness caused by stress.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Can Slow Healing
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can also help to reduce muscle aches. However, drugs may not be a good long-term option for pain relief as they can slow healing. This is why considering physiotherapy can pay off in the long run as it supports the body’s natural healing process.
If your muscles won’t stop aching, don’t hesitate to contact a physiotherapist today.