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The amount of rest that you should give your muscles really depends on the severity of your injury. Cramps need only a few minutes of rest, while severe strain may take up to days or weeks for it to heal. You just have to remember that if it really hurts, you should give your muscles a couple of hours rest, before carefully stretching the muscles. Here are a few more tips on how to take care of painful muscles:
Use an ice pack and apply it to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time throughout the day. Keep the ice off for at least as long as you kept the ice pack on. The ice constricts the blood vessels. Keeping it too long on the affected part could kill the tissue in the area. People with heart disease and diabetes should consult their physician first because they are more vulnerable to tissue damage.
Putting a bandage on the affected area is good. Just remember not to wrap too tightly. Wrapping the affected area too tightly can cause swelling below the area.
If you have an injury on your foot or lower leg, it is good advice to put them up. Raising the injured body part higher than your heart prevents the blood from pooling up that causes the swelling.
Muscles that are injured due to exercise tend to shorten during the healing period. They need to be lengthened or else they will remain tight and are more likely to be torn or injured if used some more. This is the reason why stretching is very important. Gradually stretching the muscles will get them relaxed.
Getting a massage is good because it can relax and loosen the muscles.
Wearing warm clothing helps to avoid stiff and sore muscles while exercising in cold weather.
Sometimes, just by simply standing up, you can stop a cramp in your foot or leg.
Repeating the activity that made you sore yesterday today with less intensity can take away some of the soreness.
Sometimes excess body weight is the cause of the soreness that you are feeling. Shed a couple of pounds if you feel that you're overweight.
Dehydration can sometimes lead to cramping. Taking in liquids before, during and after exercise is essential.
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I am a researcher and developer of Holistic healing methods for 50 years. I have doctors' degrees in Dentistry, Homeopathy, Natural Science, and I am a Licensed Certified Massage Therapist.