Phoenix Mercury athletic trainer Tamara Poole discusses the scaled severity of muscle soreness and ways to treat it.
There’s a lot to muscle soreness, I think. There’s been a lot of talk of, there’s something called DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
There’s something that I like to think that sometimes when the muscle is so sore that it feels cramped up. You can’t extend it all the way or you can’t flex it all the way that that’s a baby pull.
The word pull is a very scary word to everyone but really it’s a strain. It’s a laymen term for strain.
But usually when someone says a pull, it’s a higher level of strain, just as we had with the ankle sprain 1, 2, 3 grades, we have the same thing with the muscles – 1, 2, 3 depending on soreness, swelling.
Like a 1, oh my muscle is tight. I feel like when I stretch it, it hurts a little bit. I feel it even when I am sitting on the couch – that’s probably a 1.
A 2 now, there may be a little bit of dotting of color in it. It may have a little lump in it.
Three, you are actually like… so it’s like 1 big, 2, it maybe a couple more, 3, 4… so any time you see bleeding in the muscle like you see a little bruise, boy I was sore there and you didn’t think you pulled it and then you look a couple of days later and you say bruise, you probably stretched some tissue.
If you stretched it enough people only will think about the muscle stretching. You are actually stretching the blood vessels, everything. So if you pop a little capillary you have probably pulled your muscle.
On the other hand let’s say you hadn’t worked out. You go work out vigorously and the next day you can’t move and it’s everywhere.
You probably just have a little bit of delayed onset muscle soreness and a little tip for that – ice, ice, ice.
If you have a cool pool, this is the study that was done years ago for massage, trying to get the lactic acid build up and the soreness out.
Jogging in a cool pool will take away so much pain and stress from your muscles. I don’t know if it’s the weight of the water, the lightness of your body because you are not pushing your full body weight around, and the coolness all put in one, but you just get a little circulation through those muscles, you feel yucky.
But the number one thing you can do is ice and lightly stretch. If stretching really, really hurts you, you need to back off and then try it again the next day because you actually could have a small pull or a small strain.
A veteran of athletic training and sports medicine in women’s professional sports, Tamara Poole is the Phoenix Mercury’s Head Athletic Trainer. Just the second head trainer in Mercury history, Poole acts as a medical liaison with the team’s medical and organizational staff, focusing on injury prevention and management.