With more than 650 muscles in the body, it’s easy to pull, strain or tire one or two of them when exercising or going about everyday tasks.
But which over-the-counter remedies are worth buying?
Here, Gary Jones, a consultant physiotherapist at Physio 206 in Birmingham and Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and Tim Allardyce, a physiotherapist at Surrey Physio in London, assess a selection of products.
We then rate them.
The Daily Mail has tried out several over-the-counter remedies for muscle pain (file photo)
Buerer MG40 infrared massager
CLAIM: The head of this massaging device vibrates and heats up using infrared radiation. The maker says it can be used to treat aches and tension, circulatory disorders and fatigue.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘There has been good research into how massage and heat increase blood flow. This can ease sore muscles,’ says Gary Jones.
‘But it won’t heal a muscle injury. Years ago there was a suggestion that infrared therapy would help tissue healing, but there’s been no good clinical research to support this.
‘I would steer clear of this device in the early stages of an injury as heat will make the pain worse over the initial three to five days.
‘It may even delay the recovery, as increased blood flow will lead to more pain and swelling.’
Consultant physiotherapist Gary Jones says you should avoid the Buerer MG40 infrared massager in the early stages of an injury as heat will make the pain worse over the initial three to five days
Aptonia roll on massage tool
CLAIM: You roll the ball over sore muscles. The maker suggests spending five minutes on each muscle group to ease contractures (or knots).
You roll the ball over sore muscles. The maker suggests spending five minutes on each muscle group to ease contractures (or knots)
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘This is robust with a comfy grip, and it glides over muscles effectively,’ says Tim Allardyce. ‘You can use it over tight, tense muscles around the body. I found it was comfortable and therapeutic for my tense neck muscles.’
‘When you roll it over a sore muscle, you are breaking down adhesions [tissue that forms due to inflammation] so your muscles feel looser.
‘This is simple to use and just the right size to work on niggly muscles. Those with sensitive skin or very sore muscles should use the tool gently until it becomes bearable.
‘But a treatment from a trained physio would be more effective, as it will help to mobilise your joints as well as strengthen the muscles.’
Hotteeze disposable heat pads
£9.95 for pack of ten, completecare shop.co.uk
CLAIM: Once the packet is opened, the iron filling inside the pad reacts with oxygen in the air and releases heat. It reaches 50c within ten minutes.
You stick the single-use pads on clothing close to a sore muscle — never directly onto skin. The pads are said to reduce inflammation as well as increase blood flow.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘Heat can benefit sore muscles as it encourages blood flow and is soothing,’ says Tim Allardyce. ‘Warmer muscles help painful joints move more easily.
‘The problem is you apply this on clothing rather than skin as it gets very hot, so not enough heat passes to the skin.
‘There was barely any warmth on my neck when I tried it. I got no relief. A hot water bottle is better.’
You stick the single-use pads on clothing close to a sore muscle — never directly onto skin. But not enough heat passes on to the skin, so it isn't effective
CEP recovery compression socks
‘These socks are good for anyone who does lots of walking or who is on their feet for hours at work. They can reduce muscle cramping and aching calves linked to blood pooling in the legs,’ says Tim Allardyce
CLAIM: This pair of long compression socks, made of polyamide and Spandex, helps pump blood from the lower legs back up towards the heart.
The yarn has a bioactive compound that’s warmed up by the body, increasing blood flow and making muscles less painful, it is claimed.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘These socks are good for anyone who does lots of walking or who is on their feet for hours at work. They can reduce muscle cramping and aching calves linked to blood pooling in the legs,’ says Tim Allardyce.
‘Studies have shown that the calf pump mechanism (the body’s way of pumping blood back to the heart) is 30 per cent more efficient when wearing compression socks.
‘A good fit is key to the socks working properly. The CEP ones come in various sizes — so always check measurements before you buy to make sure that they’ll benefit you.’