How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness: Home Remedies That Really Work

How to Get Rid of Soreness

Knowing how to get rid of muscle soreness can greatly help to improve your quality of life. Most of us will suffer from sore muscles at some point in our lives. Muscles in the lower back can get sore from sitting at a desk all day or you could have sore muscles in your arms, chest, and legs after a strenuous workout. Sometimes injury, overusing muscles, strains, sprains, or pulling a muscle can all cause muscle soreness and even make your whole body feel sore.

There are many easy and practical ways to get rid of soreness in muscles naturally without resorting to painkillers. Very often, using heat therapy helps to increase circulation to the painful area and reduces muscle soreness. You can also massage the sore muscle area with essential oils or take ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties. Very often, you can avoid getting sore muscles after working out if you warm up properly and use active recovery techniques.

In this article, you will find out lots of different ways to get rid of muscle soreness. These muscle pain relief treatments can be very useful if you suffer from chronic muscle pain like fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, or lower back pain. You can also use the natural remedies for muscle soreness to treat muscle injuries and acute pain in your muscles.

What is Muscle Soreness?

Muscle soreness describes a painful sensation that you feel when muscles are tense, stressed, stretched, or injured. Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler on MedicineNet says that myalgia (the medical name for sore muscles) can also be caused by a number of inflammatory conditions as well as overuse injuries which are very common.1

Sore muscles can affect any area of the body but Dr. Stöppler says that muscle soreness caused by injury is usually localized. For example, if you have been lifting an object the wrong way or have bad posture, then you may have sore muscles just in your lower back. Or, you can pull a calf muscle or thigh muscle from intense running.

Some people suffer from chronic muscle soreness like fibromyalgia. This chronic painful condition can cause muscle pain anywhere in the body and range from mild to debilitating.

Because very sore muscles can affect our daily activities, it’s important to know how to soothe sore muscles quickly. This will also prevent further muscle injury and pain as you help the muscle tissue to heal quicker.

Symptoms and Causes of Muscle Soreness

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, most people look for remedies to cure muscle soreness because of tension, stress, minor injuries, or overuse. Depending on the severity of the muscle tissue damage, you may just have a mild twinge in the affected muscle. Or, the muscle pain could be so severe that it is painful to move your body.2

Chronic conditions like back pain and fibromyalgia can cause muscle soreness that is relentless and ongoing. Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD says that chronic muscle pain can be a dull ache in one or more muscle groups, a throbbing pain that comes and goes, or it can be shooting pains that are intense and difficult to bear. If the pain is ongoing, then this can also affect your mental health and lead to depression, frustration, and anger.3

Another type of muscle pain that can cause varying degrees of soreness is delayed onset muscle soreness or “DOMS.” Doctors from the National Health Service say that DOMS can appear 2 or 3 days after intense physical training. This can result in muscle aches, stiff muscles, skin tenderness in some muscles, and temporarily decreased strength.4

Other reasons for sore muscles that cause aching and throbbing sensations are the flu, poor blood circulation, a mineral deficiency, not drinking enough fluids, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, and polymyalgia rheumatica (an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders, but can also affect your neck, upper arms, buttocks, hips or thighs).

How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness Fast

If you are suffering from muscle soreness, what can you do to get rid of pain, aches, and tenderness in your muscles fast? While it might not be possible to get rid of soreness in one day, there are many natural treatments that are effective for getting rid of sore muscles fast.

Here are some of the best natural remedies you can use at home for fast pain relief from muscle soreness.

Cold treatment for muscle soreness

If you have suffered an injury that results in sore muscles, you can apply an ice pack in the first day or two after the trauma. Ice helps to prevent bleeding in the soft muscle tissues that can lead to swelling and bruising. A cold pack applied to injured muscles will also help to reduce soreness and speed up the healing process.

According to Dr. Jan Sambrook on, ice is a good treatment method to decrease muscle soreness only in the first 2 days after the initial injury. Ice prevents fluid gathering at the trauma site, prevents inflammation, and reduces the time the muscles will be sore.

How to use:

To use an ice pack to prevent muscle soreness after an injury to your calf muscles, arms, thighs or shoulder muscles, this is what you should do:

  1. Put crushed ice in a sealable plastic bag and wrap in a thin towel. (Alternatively, you can use a frozen bag of peas).
  2. Apply to your calves, thighs, or other sore muscles for 15 minutes between 4 and 8 times a day to make muscle soreness go away.
  3. Continue icing the affected area for the first 2 days after your injury to help the affected muscles heal quicker.

If you still have sore muscles from the injury after 2 days, you should use heat treatment to continue the muscle rehabilitation.

Heat treatment for muscle soreness

Heat treatment is a very effective method for muscle pain relief. Heat packs or hot water bottles can be applied to sore muscles that are caused by chronic pain conditions like back pain or to help acute muscle injuries heal quicker. Heat packs are also a good way to relieve sore thigh muscles, neck pain and shoulder blade pain.

Dr. Jan Sambrook says that heat is a safe home remedy for most muscle aches and pains. A heat pack stimulates blood circulation to the affected area and relieves muscle cramps, spasms, and promotes healing. Natural heat remedies are great for treating over-exertion muscle injuries, chronic pain conditions, and abdominal cramping.5

How to use:

To make your own heat pack for relieving soreness from muscles you can use the following method:

  1. Fill a sock with rice and leave enough room at the top to tie it shut.
  2. Place the sock filled with rice and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Make sure it is not too hot.
  3. Carefully remove the natural heat pack and apply to your sore muscles to help get rid of the pain.
  4. Hold the heat pack on the sore muscle for 20 minutes and repeat 3 times a day to help get rid of muscle pain and promote tissue healing.
  5. If the heat pack cools, place in the microwave again for one minute and reapply.

Alternate cold & hot treatment method

A combination of cold and hot treatment can help get rid of leg soreness and relieve sore muscle cramps in other parts of your body. Contrast baths are also great for sore muscles in your hands. Contrast water therapy uses immersion in hot and cold water and is useful for relieving sore leg muscles after running or working out. Contrast water therapy helps to stimulate blood flow to the affected limbs and accelerate recovery from exercise.

According to the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, contrast baths can help to relieve muscle soreness after exercising. Researchers found that alternating between 1 minute in hot water at 100°F (38°C) and 1 minute in cold water at 60°F (15°C) for a total of 6 minutes had a marked effect on the intensity of muscle pain.6

How to use:

It can be a challenge to use contrast temperature therapy to relieve all types of muscle pain. You can use hot and cold packs alternately on your legs or shoulders to help relieve muscle soreness.

Here is a way you can use contrast baths for relieving leg or hand muscle pain:

  1. Fill a large basin or bucket with hot water (100°F / 38°C) and another basin or bucket with cold water (60°F / 15°C).
  2. Soak the affected limb in the cold-water bath for 2 minutes.
  3. Move the leg or hand to the warm-water bath and soak for 30 seconds.
  4. Alternate between the hot and cold baths for 15 minutes and finish with the cold-water immersion.
  5. Use 2-3 times a day until your muscle injury has healed and you no longer have pain in your leg muscles or hands.

Eat well

To help and avoid muscle soreness, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet to help nourish your muscle tissue with enough nutrients. Protein is the building block of muscles and your body needs enough to recover well after exercising.

The Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock reported that training and exercising create stress in the body. Among the ways of natural post-exercise recovery, the researchers emphasized that a proper balanced diet is essential.7

Replace fluids

Part of a balanced diet should include drinking enough fluids to prevent the symptoms of dehydration. If you have low fluid intake, toxins can build up in the muscle tissue and can lead to muscle cramping and soreness. This is especially true if you exercise regularly because drinking plenty of fluids helps to relieve sore muscles after a strenuous physical workout.

For example, a report in the Journal of Athletic Training said that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can be prevented by replacing fluids and electrolytes that are lost through sweating. It was found that dehydration affects muscle strength, restricts blood flow to muscles, and increases muscle soreness.8

One way to help restore electrolyte balance after exercising is to drink alkaline water. Alkaline water can help maintain electrolytes in your system and prevent muscle soreness after intensive workouts. Coconut water is another delicious source of electrolytes that can help prevent stiffness, soreness, and muscle pain.

Warm up before exercising

One way to prevent soreness after a workout is to warm up before exercising. Warming up before any workout routine or exercising will prevent muscle stiffness and sore muscles developing in the hours after working out. This is because warming up before training helps to prepare your muscles for physical activity by increasing blood flow to muscles and loosening your joints.

The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy stated that warm-up exercises before workout help to reduce muscle soreness after the workout has finished. It was found that warming up just before starting strenuous activity helps reduce DOMS in active people.9

Although there are mixed reports on the benefit of cooling down after exercising, the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock reported that post-exercise techniques to prevent muscle soreness should include gentle stretching to help muscles recover faster.7

Active recovery

Active recovery is defined as an easier workout compared to your normal routine and is often used to speed up recovery after intense exercise.

Most doctors and physiotherapists agree on the fact that active recovery after exercising is an effective method to avoid being sore after a workout. Active exercise helps reduce muscle soreness because it helps to speed up muscle recovery. Active recovery after working out is better than passive rest and will boost your workout program.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that active recovery exercising is just as effective as massage to relieve post-workout muscle soreness. The researchers concluded that active recovery can provide acute relief from sore muscles and ease general aches and pains after exercising.10

The best kind of active recovery depends on the type and length of your exercise or workout regime. Therefore, you should speak to a trained professional on the best type of active recovery for your needs.

R.I.C.E. for sore muscles

As well as using ice to relieve soreness from strained or injured muscles, you should also use other methods to ensure full recovery and prevent further muscle injury. One way to do this is to use the R.I.C.E. recovery method for muscle soreness.

According to Dr. William Blahd on WebMD, RICE (or, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is helpful when used as soon as possible after a muscle strain or injury to relieve soreness and provide pain relief.

How to use:

This is how to use the RICE method for getting rid of soreness fast:

  1. Rest. First, rest the injured area and take a break from the activity that causes muscle soreness.
  2. Ice. Apply an ice pack to the affected muscle for 10 or 15 minutes 3 times a day for the first 48 hours. (After that, change to a heat pack).
  3. Compression. If possible, wrap a compression bandage around the injured muscle or joint to prevent swelling. Use for up to 72 hours.
  4. Elevation. Keep the injured area elevated while applying ice to reduce pain and swelling.

Relaxing bath / Epsom salt bath

Soaking in a warm bath can help to relieve aching muscles if your whole body is sore. For example, if you have fibromyalgia, other types of chronic pain, or delayed onset muscle soreness after exercising then taking a warm bath will help to relieve sore muscles fast. Heat from the warm bath water helps to improve blood circulation and relaxes your muscles to get rid of soreness naturally.

The North American Journal of Medical Sciences reported that warm baths help to support sore muscles and relieve tension from joints. It was also found that immersing in a warm bath before strenuous exercise helped to reduce the risk of muscle damage and muscle soreness.6

One way to use a warm bath to ease muscle soreness is to add Epsom salt to bath water. According to Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD, Epsom salt baths are an excellent way to recover from a pulled muscle or strained leg muscle. Epsom salt baths are also good for all-over body muscle soreness if you have fibromyalgia, arthritis pain, and sore muscles after working out.11

How to use:

To recover quicker from sore muscles or to prevent DOMS, you can make an Epsom salt bath using the following steps:

  1. Fill your bathtub with very warm water and add 1 or 2 cups of Epsom salts.
  2. Relax for 20 minutes and rinse yourself off with warm water.

You can also add some essential oils to your bath. Essential oils will not only boost your mood, but lavender, peppermint, and chamomile are essential oils that have an analgesic effect and will reduce muscle soreness. You can also find more Epsom salt bath recipes in my article about Epsom salt bath and foot soak – Benefits and recipes.

Ice bath after strenuous exercising

If you are feeling brave, an ice bath can be a good solution for sore muscles after strenuous exercising. Doctors aren’t sure how cold baths work, but many who try them say that they have less muscle pain after working out.

Dr. Louise Chang on WebMD reported on various studies into using ice bath therapy for muscle soreness. People sat in bath water up to their waist that was between 50°F (10°C) and 59°F (15°C). The participants sat between 5 and 24 minutes. It was found that ice baths were just as effective as other pain-relieving methods to reduce muscle soreness. However, if you have cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure, you should not take ice baths for muscle recovery.12

Interestingly, the North American Journal of Medical Sciences said that regular winter swimming helps to reduce muscle soreness in people who have chronic muscle pain conditions like rheumatism and fibromyalgia.6

Consume ginger

Taking ginger may not get rid of muscle soreness in a day, but if you regularly consume more ginger in your diet you may experience fewer episodes of muscle pain. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve muscle pain from both chronic pain conditions and post-workout muscle soreness.

The Journal of Pain reported on the pain-relieving properties of ginger. Studies showed that taking ginger supplements may help to reduce muscle soreness caused by exercise. Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect on muscle tissue and it helps to reduce the intensity of pain caused by muscle injury.13

To benefit from the medicinal properties of ginger to relieve pain, you can use fresh ginger as well as dried or even cooked ginger. While many people believe that consuming fresh ginger is the best, in my article about the amazing benefits of cooked and dried ginger you will find out how to use ginger when cooking to maximize its health benefits.


One way to relieve back pain and muscle tension naturally is to have a massage. Massaging sore muscles helps to get rid of knots, release tension, and promote healing in damaged muscle tissue. Massaging also helps to relax your mind which, in itself, helps to relieve muscle tension and soreness.

The Journal of Athletic Training reported that massaging can help to prevent muscle soreness after working out. Researchers found that athletes who received massages after training were less likely to have DOMS and aching muscles. They concluded that massage helped to reduce swelling and muscle pain.14

A trained sports massage therapist can provide targeted pain-relief therapy if you have sore muscles after training. However, there are many massage techniques you can try at home to relieve back pain and other types of muscle pain.

Essential oils

There are many essential oils that you can use to relieve muscle pain and get rid of soreness and you can find them in my article about the top 17 essential oils for muscle pain relief. Many essential oils penetrate deep into muscle tissue to loosen strained and tight muscles. Here are 3 of the best essential oils for muscle soreness:

Peppermint oil. The Indian Journal of Anaesthesia reported that peppermint oil is effective in getting rid of chronic muscle pain and helping to ease muscle soreness.15

Lavender oil. Lavender oil helps to relieve stress from both your mind and muscles. A study from 2015 found that lavender contains compounds that have a powerful effect on relieving muscle tension and stress. In fact, lavender was just as effective as some popular painkillers.16

Chamomile oil. Chamomile oil is another soothing oil with pain-relieving properties. The journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology reported that chamomile inhibits certain neurotransmitters and lowers the intensity of pain.17


If you are stiff and sore after exercising, taking CoQ10 supplements may help for short-term muscle soreness relief.

A report from 2015 on the effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation found that they helped to offset muscle damage caused by heavy exercise. The participants of the study took 5mg CoQ10 per kg a day. The results showed that over a 14-day period muscle soreness was greatly reduced and inflammatory markers were improved.22

Consume magnesium rich foods

Make sure you consume enough magnesium in your diet. According to doctors on WebMD, magnesium is required for the proper growth and maintenance of bones and is also required for the proper function of nerves, muscles, and many other parts of the body.20

One of the signs of magnesium deficiency is muscle tightness, as well as other symptoms which I mentioned in my article about top signs that you have magnesium deficiency. In this article you can learn about the link between magnesium, vitamin D and calcium, how to identify a magnesium deficiency and how to stay magnesium sufficient.


Potassium is another important mineral for a person’s muscles to work effectively. Doctors from WebMD report that one of the signs of potassium deficiency are weakness, tiredness, or cramping in arm or leg muscles, that sometimes can be severe enough to cause inability to move arms or legs.21

You can read more about the importance of potassium, symptoms of low potassium and how to boost your potassium levels in my article about potassium deficiency – causes, symptoms and what to do.

Improve posture

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain or shoulder blade pain, you may need to improve your posture to address your muscle soreness. Incorrect posture can lead to extra strain on muscles and cause tension and knots in your back and shoulder muscles.

According to Dr. Michael Smith on WebMD, back pain affects nearly 80% of the population in the U.S. This can cause sharp, stabbing pains in the lower back that can be debilitating. Doctors recommend improving posture to prevent back pain becoming a chronic condition. Some ways of improving your posture are learning how to bend correctly and sitting in the correct position at a desk.18

There are more exercises that you can use to strengthen your back and prevent lower back muscle soreness.

Muscle Soreness – When to See a Doctor

Although muscle soreness is common among many people, there are some types of pain that you should never ignore.

If home remedies for muscle soreness don’t improve your muscle pain, you should see a doctor for a checkup. In the majority of cases, your doctor will recommend some techniques to ease the pain and help prevent muscle pain in the future.

According to Dr. Linda Vorvick from MedlinePlus, you should see a doctor for muscle pain in the following circumstances:

  • Your muscle pain lasts for more than 3 days and doesn’t seem to get better.
  • Muscle pain is debilitating and affects your quality of life.
  • There is redness, swelling, and other signs of infection in the painful area.
  • You have been bitten by a tick.
  • You have signs of poor circulation as well as muscle aches (common in the lower legs).
  • You have severe, squeezing chest pains that spread to your arms or jaw.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

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  5. PatientInfo. Heat and ice treatment for pain.
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  7. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2010 Jul-Sep; 3(3): 302.
  8. J Ath Training. 2000;35(2):212-224.
  9. Aust J Physiother.2007;53(2):91-5.
  10. J Strength Cond Res.2013 Dec;27(12):3352-9.
  11. WebMD. Why take an Epsom salt bath?
  12. WebMD. Ice baths for sore muscles can work.
  13. J Pain.2010 Sep;11(9):894-903.
  14. J Athl Train. 2005 Jul-Sep; 40(3): 174–180.
  15. Indian J Anaesth. 2009 Oct; 53(5): 575–581.
  16. An Acad Bras Cienc.2015 Aug;87(2 Suppl):1397-408.
  17. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol.2013 Nov 1;272(3):797-805.
  18. WebMD. 12 back pain remedies.
  19. MedlinePlus. Muscle aches.
  20. WebMD. Magnesium.
  21. WebMD. Low potassium (hypokalaemia)
  22. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2015; 29: 202.

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