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How do I Relieve a Burning Muscle?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A burning muscle can be caused by any number of things, and it can be important to identify the cause before simply trying to make the burning go away. In some cases, while you can reduce the burning sensation, you won’t actually be fixing the underlying problem, and may be causing further damage. In other cases, the muscle itself is not a problem, and just alleviating the pain is a fine thing to do.

One of the common causes of a muscle burning is simply over-exertion. When you’re working out, your muscles get worn, which excites them into rebuilding even stronger in the future. Especially if you’re engaging in a serious muscle-building regimen, a burning muscle is to be expected in whatever region you’re working. In some cases, while the muscle may burn a bit the day you work out, the true soreness and burning will come the day after, in what is called delayed onset muscle soreness.

If you’re repeatedly experiencing muscle soreness and burning after working out, you may be pushing yourself too hard. One way to relieve muscle burning is to make sure you work out just to the point of feeling your muscles burn, then backing off a bit, then going back to the muscle burn once they’ve had time to relax a bit. The next day you’ll be able to gauge how worn out your muscles are, and if the burn is intense, take a break for a day or two, or even up to a week. Constant burning is a sign that you are working out too hard, too often, and you need to either reduce the intensity with which you’re working out, or else take more gentle days between intense workouts.

Many people suggest drinking a great deal of water and cooling down your body to help alleviate a burning muscle. This is believed to remove the lactic acid in the system, which in turn is believed by some to reduce the burning sensation. While this may or may not be true, many people do report that cooling the body does seem to at least somewhat relieve the pain of burning.

Fibromyalgia may also cause a burning muscle, along with other symptoms, especially fatigue and a difficulty sleeping. Fibromyalgia usually involves muscles all over the body, with burning, aching, and even occasional twitching. A number of doctor-prescribed medications are available to help relieve the burning that accompanies fibromyalgia, although nothing will completely remove the pain. A number of anticonvulsants, such as Ativan® and Lyrica®, are used to handle the pain, as are some antidepressants, such as modern selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

For more general burning muscles, as well as fibromyalgia, more heavy-duty pain relievers can do a great deal to ease the pain. Ultram® and Ultracet® are both used, and in some cases a doctor may inject a local dose of cortisone into the muscle. Muscle relaxants may also help quite a bit. Nearly all pain killers that are strong enough to help with severe muscle pain will require a prescription, though over-the-counter pain killers may help alleviate the pain somewhat.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By GiraffeEars — On Aug 08, 2010

If your muscles burn because of lactic acid build-up, you can supplement with creatine monohydrate to regenerate Adenosine Triphosphate(ATP) and prevent glycolisis. ATP is the compound that muscles use for fuel when they contract. Glycolisis occurs when the body depletes one phosphate molecule from ATP, forcing the body to produce glycogen to fuel the muscles. The byproduct of burning glycogen as fuel for the muscles is lactic acid.

Creatine monohydrate assimilates into the body as creatine phosphate. When the ATP decomposes to Adinophine diphosphate (ADP), the creatine phosphate stored in the muscle will release its phosphate molecule, preventing glycolisis. No glycolisis, no lactic acid. No lactic acid, no burning in the muscles.

By anon40763 — On Aug 10, 2009

also if you have RSD, you get the same symptoms. this is a graet article. thank you

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