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You Asked: Does Heat Make Sore Muscles Feel Worse?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

Dear Fit,
When I have a tough workout at the gym or an intense bike ride, my muscles are so tight and sore. I love to get into a hot shower to relieve my pain, but I read somewhere that heat can make the pain worse. Is this true? Should I take a cool shower instead?
— Sore Savannah

Ahh the age-old question about whether to use heat and ice, that confounds many fitness fanatics. To see what I have to say about this issue


If you have an injury, like a pulled muscle or a sprained ankle, ice is needed to reduce swelling. However, sore muscles indicate that you have microscopic tears in the fibers. This is normal and means you challenged your muscles. Yay! As the fibers heal they become stronger, making you stronger. When you heat your muscles either with a hot bath, heating pad, or warm compress, it helps to bring blood to the area, which aids in healing. So go ahead and step into your steamy shower after a workout. Massage will also soothe your tight muscles, so it's a great excuse to make an appointment for a little pampering. The next day or two, if you're still sore, do some low-impact exercise, or work other muscle groups — the circulation will ease your discomfort.


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Heat and advil make me feel a lot better.
runfaster runfaster 9 years
I feel best when I take ice baths.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Heat is key for me.
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
I love jumping in the hot tub. There is one right across from the swimming pool at my gym.. it does wonders.
jld392 jld392 9 years
kia kia 9 years
I love doing a hot bath with epsom salts if I am sore. I make sure not to stay in too long so I that don't mess with my vessels and my skin doesn't end up all pruny.
neonbee neonbee 9 years
Exactly, I love my hot showers. But a massage sounds good right now.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Yea I'm all about a good hot shower when I'm feeling sore after a workout. Feels SO good!
emalove emalove 9 years
Heat almost always makes muscle aches go away for me. Or at least feel better.
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