How to relieve sore muscles fast: 7 tips

Learn what might be causing your discomfort and what you can do about it today.

How to relieve sore muscles fast: 7 tips
minute read

Medically Reviewed byDr. Caley Scott, ND

We use our muscles in everyday life, from walking and jogging to doing household chores and running errands. Even if you have a casual fitness routine, you’ll encounter sore muscles eventually! The question is, how do you relieve the discomfort that comes with soreness?

The good news is that muscle soreness is normal and often a good sign that your body is on the mend. 

With the right routines and proper supplementation, you can keep your muscles feeling great and functional. In this article, we’re covering the reasons behind sore muscles and offer some tips to get back on track with minimal discomfort moving forward. 

What causes sore muscles?

There’s no single reason for muscle soreness — it can happen anywhere, at any time, depending on your lifestyle and activity level. We’ve narrowed down the possible causes of muscle soreness into five main categories, so let’s go through the list to help you identify the root source of your soreness.


When you go hard in the gym, on the running trail, or at the workplace, certain muscles may be overused from repetitive contractions over time. While these movements might not feel overly taxing at the moment, your muscles experience micro-tears at a cellular level and respond with a process of repair, adaptation, and other protective mechanisms. 

Soreness is your body’s way of saying “enough already,” as chemical signals are sent through the nervous system and brain. When muscles are overused, the body needs to heal, and the soreness indicates it’s time to start the process of muscle repair.


Feelings of stiffness and tension in the muscles aren’t always the result of overuse. Instead, these sensations can be caused by a lack of movement and a limited range of motion in a particular muscle group. 

For instance, sitting for too long at a desk or driving for hours on end can leave your muscles feeling “locked” and unable to extend or contract as they should.

Too much movement can break down the muscles and cause soreness, while insufficient movement can bring about similar feelings. Finding the sweet spot of movement and rest is key to minimizing soreness and staying safe in the gym and in daily life.

Intense workouts

From sprints and burpees to calisthenics and heavy weights, high-octane workouts put immense stress on the body and cause muscle damage at a microscopic level.

There’s no getting around the fact that intense exercise is key to fitness, but don’t be surprised when you wake up the next day with soreness, stiffness, or general discomfort in your muscles.

New exercises

When you attempt a new exercise, you’re performing a feat that your body has never done before. Maybe you’re trying to earn your first pull-up or break a personal record in the squat rack. Your muscles are unfamiliar with the weight or range of movement, and the natural response is a sense of soreness you didn’t know was possible.

On the bright side, these new sore sensations are a signal that you’ve performed the exercise correctly, provided you don’t have any sharp pains or strains. Experimenting with new movements is an important aspect of fitness, but soreness is inevitable.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

One of the more mysterious sources of muscle aches is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This means you may not feel the brunt of your workout until 24 to 48 hours after performing the exercises (if not longer).

Don’t worry — DOMS is a natural part of the muscle repair process and means you’ve done a good job at breaking down the muscle fibers. However, dealing with DOMS can mean discomfort for up to a week, and you’ll probably want a game plan to achieve relief.

What Happens During the Muscle Recovery Process?

During the muscle recovery process, the body goes through a series of chores to replenish muscles while mitigating inflammation and neural damage. While discomfort may peak after a couple of days, the body eventually begins the journey of protein synthesis. 

This involves prioritizing the transportation of nutrients and “building blocks” to the muscle in order to facilitate repairs. This process of remodeling and regeneration helps to heal and build muscle. Meanwhile, the body mediates a process of neural recovery and the removal of waste through the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

After a few days, your muscles feel better and stronger if everything goes right in the repair process, and you’re ready to get back into action!

How can I ease muscle soreness?

Muscle soreness is hard to avoid if you’re pushing the limits of strength and endurance. Thankfully, you can ease muscle soreness with a few practical tips.

1. Stay hydrated

Hydration is key to hundreds of processes in the body, and muscle recovery is no exception. Be sure to intake at least a liter of fresh water on rest days and consider increasing consumption after exercise sessions. 

Don’t forget electrolytes like salts and potassium to avoid cramping, stiffness, and twitching. You can boost your hydration on the go with Sunmed’s broad spectrum hydrate water enhancer, including B vitamins, hemp extract, and added electrolytes.

2. Consume the right nutrients

A balanced diet is key for facilitating muscle recovery and keeping soreness at bay. Skip the junk food and opt for an assortment of lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Consider supplementing with protein powder or a BCAA supplement containing all the extra amino acids you need.

3. Take rest days

Everyone needs a rest day once in a while, so after several days of exercise, take a break from the gym and let your body and mind recuperate. 

This is when your body bounces back and fuels the muscles so that you can return to your routine feeling refreshed and stronger than before.

4. Make time for active recovery

Rest days are key, but you shouldn’t be 100% sedentary on your days off if you want to maximize recovery and reduce soreness. 

Active recovery work like yoga or light cardio will help increase blood flow while directing nutrients and support to the most affected muscles and joints post-exercise. Simply walking, static stretching, or foam rolling muscles can reduce muscle pain and promote recovery after a tough workout. 

Foam rollers can be excellent tools to keep in your recovery arsenal, as they work to stretch and massage sore muscles. 

5. Get enough sleep

If you lack sleep, all biological processes start grinding to a halt, including muscle recovery. Don’t be surprised if you feel more sore and stiff after getting insufficient sleep, even if all your other recovery protocols are dialed in. 

Be sure to log at least seven hours of sleep per night and improve sleep hygiene with an intentional evening routine. Supplementing with full spectrum rest gummies can help you wind down with CBN and recover fully at night.*

6. Warm up and cool down with each workout

While you may want to jump quickly into your workout routine and get home immediately after, taking time to warm up and cool down can dramatically reduce soreness and discomfort. 

You only need about five minutes on either end of your workout to keep your muscle tissue feeling fresh and ready for recovery. It’s well worth the time and effort.

7. Incorporate CBD into your wellness routine

CBD is a proven ally in reducing discomfort of all kinds, including soreness and tension from intense or novel workouts. 

Dial in your CBD routine along with other wellness habits and keep your endocannabinoid system balanced during workouts and recovery. Sunmed offers a complete range of CBD products designed to help keep your muscles feeling great day in and day out.*

How does CBD work?

CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to achieve a state of balance and stability. Users report reduced feelings of discomfort, soothing sensations, and a more efficient recovery process that helps them stay on track with wellness goals.*

With so many ways to incorporate CBD into your day, this is one aspect of your health regimen you don’t want to miss.

Understanding the endocannabinoid system (ECS) 

The ECS is present throughout the nervous system, musculature, and other systems and processes in the body, like circulation and nutrient delivery.* With a balanced ECS, your body is better suited to deal with feelings of discomfort that come with muscle tension and more.* 

The ECS also plays a role in our ability to rest and recover, making CBD and other cannabinoids a helpful addition to any recovery regimen.*

How can the ECS support muscle recovery?

CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS are found throughout the body, including muscles, joints, and various functions that support recovery.* With a well-balanced ECS, you can better handle the effects of intense exercise and deal with the psychological aspects of a rigorous fitness plan. 

With CBD and other cannabinoids that support the ECS, you can stay relaxed, balanced, and primed to take on your next workout while adhering to positive wellness habits outside the gym.*

Which type of CBD should I use for muscle discomfort?

There are plenty of CBD delivery methods you can use for muscle discomfort, so it helps to learn the benefits of each one and when to utilize them. Here are three formats to consider adding to your regimen.

Topical CBD

Topical CBD formulations like creams, gels, lotions, and sprays are tried and true ways to get CBD directly to the sorest muscles beneath the skin. The process is simple and intuitive; just rub it into the target area and experience the soothing effects within minutes. 

Our full spectrum topical cream is perfect for targeted soothing and cooling sore muscles.*

CBD oils

For steady absorption of CBD into the system, consider taking CBD oil tinctures sublingually or adding a few drops of a CBD water soluble to your favorite post-workout beverage. CBD oils get to the bloodstream and support the ECS from within, making them a proven and tested method to address general tension and discomfort in the body.* 

CBD gummies

Popping a CBD gummy is sometimes the easiest way to get the CBD your mind and muscles need most! Sunmed’s selection of gummies offers everything from broad spectrum to full spectrum, and even THC-focused formulations for extra relief.*

Bottom line

We’ve all dealt with muscle soreness at some point, and it’s usually a sign that you’re doing the right thing for your fitness! In the meantime, be sure to stick with a proven recovery routine and use CBD at the right moments to stay balanced. 

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."


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Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors | NIH

Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function | NIH

Sore Muscles from Exercise | Family Doctor

Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research | Springer Open

Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis | PMC

The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious | Harvard Health