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How Compression and 4 Basic Care Tips Relieve Muscle Pain and Soreness

Nina Schnipper

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Relieving sore, painful muscles can be done simply and naturally. When it's time to relieve sore muscles and pain, we often overlook basic first aid steps. Compression, one step in basic care, has been shown to provide muscle relief and aid the healing of soft tissue injuries.

First Aid.

Basic first aid, as taught by various organizations around the U. S. and worldwide, includes:





Those four basic care tips, also known as RICE, can be used to treat minor aches and pains like strained muscles or soft tissue.

For some people, their work and hobbies involve repetitive movement patterns that cause recurring strains. Their muscles are continually in a state of growth, strain, repair and healing. When muscles, tendons and ligaments get overworked from these patterns, they develop a type of soft tissue injury known as Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).

Compression and healing injuries.

Yes, compression is one of the steps in basic first aid. It is used for immediate relief from muscle soreness, strains, and minor aches. However, it has also been shown to enhance the healing of soft tissue injuries, beyond initial first aid care.

Research on soft tissue injury at Ball State University, in Indiana, examined the effects of compression. They used a type of fabric called a compression sleeve. In their research, in June 2001, the research team found the use of compression:

* decreased soreness,

* reduced swelling, and

*promoted recovery

. .in muscles after exercise. Researchers, Kraemer et al. , concluded that compression is important for the management of soft tissue injury.

Compression can be achieved through different methods. In the study, for example, participants wrapped a compression sleeve around their muscles to reduce tension.

Compression can be applied manually during massage therapy such as Swedish and Thai massage therapies. When applied carefully and gently by a trained therapist, manual compression relieves soreness and provides deep relaxation.

You can also compress an area while applying ice or a cool gel-pack. In this way, you are using two of the four basic care methods simultaneously. This method is known as a cold-compress, and it has been practiced in many cultures.


When we become trained in basic adult first aid for minor injuries, we practice taking care of others when they experience minor injuries. However, basic first aid principles such as compression have proven to be effective relief for both immediate care and long-term healing strategies.

To learn more about simple pain relief methods, get your copy of the ‘10-Day Support and Coaching Guide to Pain Relief’ at


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