At some point in our training, we all suffer from extreme soreness, strained, or pulled muscle. Most are not serious, and you can go back to your training program within a week. However, this all depends on what you do once your muscle is strained.
If you continue your intense training program without doing anything, you can potentially make the situation even worse! So lets go over 3 basic things you can do before to help you recover from your pulled muscle.
1 – Glutamine
Glutamine is an amino acid naturally produced by the body. It is critical to protein synthesis, digestion, immune function, and blunts cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that releases when you’re stressed out (also when you train hard), and is what anyone who’s afraid to gain fat is afraid of.
However, Glutamine is so widely used by the body, that it runs out quickly, especially as your training gets tougher and tougher. You will eventually need to supplement with Glutamine, even if you’re like me and hate supplements.
The moment I started taking Glutamine, my strength levels went up, and I was less sore from workouts. Overall, I was able to recover from my workouts extremely quickly. With that said, bumping up your Glutamine intake to treat a strained muscle should help you recover from it at a faster rate.
Even though there is no peer-reviewed study claiming this to be true, bumping up your Glutamine intake for the short terms couldn’t hurt. So if you’re currently not taking Glutamine, I recommend Glutamine as the first step in your recovery plan.
2 – Icy/Hot Patches, Bengay, Tiger Balm
Heat and Ice therapy has been shown to be one of the best ways to treat sore muscles. Icy/Hot, Bengay, and Tiger Balm use a combination of ingredients to dull pain and relax muscles. The warm and cool sensations stimulate nerves and block pain signals sent to the brain.
Muscle strains, pulls, and cramps cause your muscles to stiffen up. These products will block pain receptors and help relieve discomfort. When I pulled my neck muscle a few weeks back, I went an entire week without putting anything on it.
I had a horrible stiff neck, and in the morning I couldn’t even get out of bed without my entire back and neck hurting. I was still working out! I could have seriously injured myself, so I do not recommend training if the pain is as bad as it was for me.
However, after about a week I put on some Bengay cream on the side of my neck. One day later, all the pain was gone!
So this stuff works!
3 – Epsom Salt
I used to take a lot of baths with epsom salt during my Karate days. That training was brutal, and repetitive, so the same muscles would get sore over and over again. When you take your epsom salt bath, you want your bathrooom to feel like a Sauna (almost).
Keep your bathroom door closed to keep the steam inside. Turn the water on to the hottest temperature you can stand. Now dump the Epsom salt into the tub, spreading the salt evenly throughout the tub. Don’t just throw it in one place.
Fill the tub up to the level you wish, then turn the water off, and ease into the water. Remember, the water’s going to be hot, so be careful! Now, just relax. Massage your sore muscles or stretch them out a bit.
A warm bath by itself should make you feel good.
In addition to these three steps, you should also be taking in adequate protein, and getting enough sleep. One of my Facebook friends just posted on his wall that he hasn’t slept for 26 hours, and it freaked the hell out of me!
I get at least 7 hours of sleep. Find a way to get your sleep!
P.S. – If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, or similar injuries, then you need something heavy duty. You need to change your complete training program. I recommend grabbing Eric Wong’s Bulletproof Back.