Suscipio PSA #8 – What to Do When It HURTS!!

Public Service AnnouncementDisclaimer – I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or professional fitness guru. I am sharing what I’ve learned through research and experience; you all must use your own judgment in deciding what is best for you and your own health, including checking with your doctor before beginning any exercise or dietary program.



My rear end hurts today.  Achy muscle I don’t want to move kind of hurting.  Here’s the culprit:

That’s a kettlebell.  I am extremely fortunate to have a gym at my office.  It’s the most fabulous perk of all.  I used to swing bells every day, but I haven’t touched one in months.  Life has been incredibly stressful lately so I thought I’d relieve some tension with my old kettlebell workout.   Since I haven’t done a routine with bells in a while, I stuck to baby beginner stuff with a light (22 pound) bell.  Mercy my rear hurts today from the presses and lunges I did!

What’s the deal?  I work out regularly, so why the heck am I sore today?

Muscle soreness like this is often felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise sessions. Kettlebells?  A shock to my system.  Not the same muscles used for mountain biking for sure! This kind of ache is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  It’s not the same kind of fatigue you feel during exercise.  It’s also not the sharp, sudden pain you would feel from an injury, like a sprain or muscle tear.  DOMS shows up 24-48 hours AFTER the exertion.

DOMS is thought to be a result of microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers, caused by movement that your body isn’t used to. This is especially true of eccentric muscle contractions, or movements that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens.  Examples of eccentric muscle contraction type exercise include going up and down stairs, running downhill, and the downward motion of squats, lunges and push-ups.

So what’s a girl with a sore rear to do?  There just isn’t any single, simple way to treat DOMS when it strikes.   Here are a few things to try.

Active Recovery:  This strategy does have some research to back it up. Performing easy low-impact aerobic exercise will increase blood flow to the sore spots and will help make them less tender. That’s what I did.  Walked a few miles at a nice easy pace.  I felt better afterwards.

Rest and Recover:  If you simply wait it out, soreness will go away in 3 to 7 days with no special treatment. Humph.  Not very useful if you, oh, plan to go dancing, or skiing, or even go to work sometime in the next 24 hours.

Ice Bath: Many pro athletes use them and claim they work to reduce soreness. Me? Not so thrilled about plunging my rear into a bathtub full of ice cubes.

RICE:  the standard method of treating acute injuries.  Use it if your soreness is particularly painful. Rest, ice, compression, elevation.  I have this image in my brain of my rear packed with ice and elevated above my head.  Not very practical.

Gentle Stretching: Although there’s no research to prove that stretching alone reduces muscle pain and soreness, many people find it simply feels good.  I’m one of them.

Advil:  Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen may help to temporarily reduce the muscle soreness, although they won’t actually speed healing.  Advil is my friend.  My very, very good friend.

Warm Up Completely before your next exercise session. There is some research that confirms that a thorough warm-up performed immediately prior to new and eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness.  I will certainly warm up before my next kettlebell workout.

Next workout?  Darn Right.  Me and that kettlebell were love at first sight all those years ago when we first met.  I’ve missed it, and am going to bring it back into my routine.  Besides, I still want arms like that chick in the Terminator movie.  What other excuse do I need to pick up a 26 pound chunk of metal and swing it around?

Go Put Ice on It.  Keep the Faith.

Next Time:  Fueling Your Body



  1. Wow, am I glad I found this today! I am an (ahem) “older” lady with a few muscle issues, and this has some good practical help. RICE. I like it. Thanks!

  2. Angela I just love the way you are teaching and motivating us to take care of ourselves. Real life advice with some serious girlfriend funniness…perfect combination!
    Jenny recently posted..Catholic Woman’s Almanac {CWA}My Profile


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