After you've done a strenuous abdominal workout, your stomach might feel sore, tight and irritated. When you overuse your muscles they swell and require a few days of rest to properly heal. Don't suffer while you wait -- instead, relieve your sore abdominal muscles with home remedies and over-the-counter care. Talk to your doctor before trying any home remedy to treat your sore muscles, especially if you have prior injuries or medical conditions.
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Rest and refrain from strenuous abdominal exercise until soreness stops. Your muscles do not get a chance to heal if you're back in the gym the next day, working on your abs again.
Take a dose of over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce swelling and relieve sore muscles. Take two every 4 hours, or the dose recommended on the label's instructions.
Take a cold bath to numb your throbbing muscles and reduce swelling, recommends "Fitness" in the article "Can Hot Baths Prevent Sore Muscles?" Fill the bathtub halfway up with cold water. Add a few handfuls of ice cubes, then sit in the water up to your belly button. Keep your chest and head out of the water -- the frigid water could cause complications. Soak your stomach as long as you can, working up to increments of 1 minute.
Try a warm compress, like a hot water bottle, to reduce muscle cramping and spasms associated with sore abdominal muscles. When you overuse your muscles, they might spasm or involuntary contract while they're healing. Apply a warm compress for 15 minutes at a time to relax your abdominal muscles and reduce stiffness.
Consult your doctor if muscle pain lasts longer than a week. In some cases, muscle pain could be the cause of a more serious injury, like a muscle strain or sprain. When muscle pain stays the same, or gets worse with time, see a doctor to rule out serious complications.
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Muscle Pain and Spasm
- "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies"; Deborah Tkac; 1990