You know the feeling – you’ve worked so hard at the gym getting into shape that your muscles just ache. Rest and relaxation are key, but sometimes you need a little extra help to get you through the day without too much ache. Sore muscles occur with injury, overuse or when beginning a new intense physical activity. Having sore muscles can a be a sign of positive improvement after exercise, but they can also be a sign of a serious injury or muscle damage if the soreness is severe. There are some over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can help relieve your pain and allow you to function with your regular daily activities and get some sleep at night.
Acetaminophen is effective because it will reduce the chemical signals in the brain that are related to pain that is associated with the sore muscles. Acetaminophen is a safe OTC medication, but please check with your doctor before taking it if you have liver disease. Also, a healthy patient should not take more than 1 gram per dose and no more than 4 grams per day to avoid liver damage. Tylenol is a common OTC medication.
Naproxen sodium is a nonsterodial anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces chemical signals in the body that are related to pain and inflammation associated with sore muscles. Taken as directed, naproxen sodium is safe and effective. Consult your family doctor on possible side effects. Aleve is a common OTC medication.
Capsaicin cream is a topical ointment OTC medication that can be used to treat pain associated with sore muscles. Capsaicin, a derivative of chili peppers, reduces a chemical signal related to pain when applied topically to the skin over the sore muscle. The cream may cause a burning sensation for 15 to 20 minutes after application. Capsaicin cream is required to be used for a few days to achieve the optimum effect. No side effects are associated to capsaicin cream, which makes this product a safe medicine to use for sore muscles. Capzasin is a common OTC medication.
There are several other topical ointments for the skin and will help with temporary relief of muscle pain. Some when rubbed in cause a warming sensation (methyl salicylate), while others will feel cool when applied (camphor and menthol). Both will give temporary relief to sore muscles. Bengay and BioFreeze are common OTC medicated creams.
Muscle soreness affects virtually everyone and can be a response to sports, exercise, work, travel, or daily activities. Muscle soreness due to exercise can occur at the highest level about 24 to 48 hours after exercise, reaching a peak within 48 to 72 hours, and disappearing five to seven days after the exercise. If it becomes too unbearable, make sure to visit your doctor to make sure there is no injury. Otherwise, to get moving a little easier, try some of the over-the-counter medications to help you out.
* Information from Livestrong.com
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