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Aches, cramps and electrolytes: how to avoid muscle pain?

Aches, cramps, muscle pain following physical exertion

We dissect with you this frequent and yet misunderstood “phenomenon”!

What is a curvature?

Body aches are defined as pain, muscle stiffness that manifests itself following prolonged physical effort, long immobility or during the initial phase of certain illnesses.

How to recognize a curvature ?

A muscle stiffness can be described as diffuse muscle pain. It causes discomfort during movement and usually appears 24 hours after exercise. The maximum pain level is reached after 48 to 72 hours.

There is also a decrease in muscle strength as well as in joint amplitude related to muscle stiffness. In some cases, you can observe the possible presence of muscle edema. The aches gradually disappear in 5 to 7 days.

Be careful, however, not to confuse these symptoms with those of a cramp. To find out all about these, we invite you to read our dedicated article “How to prevent cramps” .

The causes of body aches: what are their origins and what are they due to?

  • The factors of appearance of aches are multiple:

  • They can occur following an unusual or intense physical effort when the muscles used do not support the workload imposed on them, creating trauma and lesions of the muscle fibres. Certain muscular exercises are more conducive than others to the appearance of aches, especially those involving eccentric muscular contractions, that is to say when the muscle resists an external force. They are found during the descent of the squat and during the impact on the ground while running, for example. [Pubmed: eccentric exercise-induced injuries]

  • Dehydration also plays an important role in the onset of body aches. Indeed, any dehydration leads to fatigue and increases the risk of muscle injury. The adaptation of the body to the effort requires increased water needs to allow the management of energy stocks and the regulation of body temperature. A water deficit will therefore have harmful consequences on both your muscles and your tolerance to effort, which will impact your performance. [IRBMS: fatigue and dehydration]

  • The onset of body aches is sometimes a symptom of an illness such as a viral infection like the flu or more serious conditions like dengue fever or chikungunya. The body seeks to eliminate the pathogen from the body by initiating an inflammatory response causing body aches.

Finally, more generally, the appearance of body aches is facilitated by states of fatigue or even stress and which can therefore contribute to their appearance.

  • As we have seen, the origins of body aches are numerous, but what are the physiological mechanisms that explain the unpleasant sensations caused by body aches? - Let's start by deconstructing a very widespread belief:

"the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle is responsible for body aches".

Following an effort, a significant amount of lactic acid is found in the muscle. It is a molecule produced by muscle cells to help them absorb glucose when oxygen is lacking.

It is the accumulation of lactic acid within the muscle that causes that feeling of heavy legs that you may have already felt after an effort. However, this does not correspond to body aches since lactic acid is eliminated within an hour of exercise. The accumulation of lactic acid is not the cause of body aches, only of the feeling of heavy leg which one can have after having solicited his muscle and which will disappear rather quickly. [Pubmed: late onset muscle pain]

  • In reality, the mechanisms involved in body aches are more complex. Aches are due to microtraumas and microlesions of muscle fibers that cause pain and provide an entry point for interstitial fluid that enters the muscle causing edema. The body will then trigger an inflammatory reaction to allow the elimination of damaged muscle fibers and the repair of damaged tissues. But the body is a complex machinery and this inflammatory reaction is not very precise, it also targets the muscle fibers that were not affected during the effort. The inflammatory reaction is also responsible for electrolyte imbalances by increasing vascular permeability, to allow the body to recruit all the molecules necessary for muscle repair. In a simplified way, we can remember that aches are the product of slight muscle damage associated with an inflammatory reaction. [Pubmed: pathogenesis]

How to avoid aches?

Rest assured, there are simple ways to prevent and relieve aches. We have listed them for you:

  • First of all, it is essential to prepare your body for the effort. This means doing a warm-up at the start of your workout.

  • Your sports session must be progressive, you must take the time to increase the load and the intensity of your exercises throughout the duration of your effort so as not to tire yourself too quickly and surprise your muscle with too intense an effort. which could cause microlesions causing aches.

  • Finally, it is advisable to stretch! You can perform a first series of stretches following your warm-up to promote the action of muscles and tendons. At the end of your sports session, opt for stretching for 20 seconds per muscle group to allow muscles to relax and promote better recovery. In addition to preventing aches, they will also ensure that you maintain your muscle flexibility, which is essential for maintaining good mobility.

Tips for relieving cramps

  • Give your muscle time to recover from its effort, its rest is essential and it also involves your sleep. You can also promote its recovery by interspersing your sports sessions with gentle, shock-free, light-intensity activities such as walking or flat cycling for 30 to 40 minutes. It stimulates blood circulation which accelerates muscle recovery.

  • If you are not motivated to get up from your sofa between your sports sessions, you can also massage your muscles after sports, using heating gels for more efficiency, which will stimulate your circulation just as well. blood.

  • Cold therapy is a great way to reduce body aches. It is often used in professional environments, whether with cold water baths (temperature between 2 and 10°C) or by cryotherapy where your body is exposed for a few minutes to extreme temperatures (less than 100°C). VS). We obviously do not advise you to try to reach such temperatures at home, at the risk of having to buy a new freezer. If cryotherapy appeals to you, turn to specialized centers.

  • Conversely, if you are chilly, we also recommend a hot water bath which accelerates blood circulation and stimulates the metabolism. Muscle damage is therefore repaired more quickly.

  • Relieving your aches also goes through your plate. It is recommended to eat foods that are a source of protein (low-fat meat, eggs, tofu, etc.), foods rich in Omega 3 such as fatty fish, but also fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants (broccoli, red fruits, prunes). ...) or in magnesium (spinach) with "shield" properties particularly suited to recovery. Conversely, processed foods, rich in saturated fatty acids, as well as acidifying foods (tobacco, alcohol, coffee) should be avoided during body aches.

  • Finally, drinking before, during and after exercise is the golden rule to apply to prevent and relieve your body aches. Water is an essential element in muscular efficiency. In addition to its essential role in maintaining body temperature, which increases considerably during exercise, it is also involved in the transport of nutrients essential for energy production to the muscle. Finally, maintaining hydration allows good oxygenation of muscle fibers. Be careful, do not wait to be thirsty to hydrate because dehydration weakens the muscles which will be more exposed to the risk of microlesions. [Science and Future: The Importance of Hydration]

The benefits of Hydratis in muscle recovery and soreness relief

The Hydratis solution ensures rapid rehydration to prevent and relieve your aches. Its unique formulation optimizes the transport of water molecules through the body, favoring the energy supply of the muscle and its good oxygenation. Its composition low in sugar and rich in minerals helps restore the electrolyte balance disturbed by the inflammatory reaction. Finally, the Hydratis solution contains magnesium, a mineral responsible for many recognized health benefits, including its restorative influence on the muscles thanks to its effects on muscle relaxation and its anti-inflammatory action, which will accentuate the relief of your aches.

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