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How do I Choose the Best Treatment for Muscle Pain in the Thighs?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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Muscle pain in the thighs can be caused by several conditions, the least severe of which is simple muscle fatigue. More severe conditions include muscle strains or ruptures; the former can be treated fairly simply, while the latter may require surgery to be fixed. Muscle pain in the thighs often occurs after physical activities in which the thigh muscles are used more than they are normally, or they are used in such a way that injury results. To choose the best treatment for muscle pain in the thighs, first figure out what is causing the pain, and then start by resting the legs sufficiently enough that muscle tissues can repair themselves.

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Muscle fatigue occurs when muscles become tired or tight after physical activity. Muscles tend to tighten when they are tired, so tight muscles can lead to muscle pain in the thighs. Stretching the muscles before and after physical activity can help relieve some of the muscle pain in the thighs due to fatigue, but the best way to prevent fatigue is proper conditioning. This means regular exercise and stretching to keep the thigh muscles used to physical activity. Stronger muscles are less likely to tire out, which means they are less likely to tighten up. Lactic acid build up can also lead to soreness; lactic acid is a by-product of burned glycogen, which is the body's preferred source of energy during physical activity. Lactic acid builds up in the muscles, making them feel tight and sore. Athletes may want to participate in lactic acid threshold training to increase the body's performance levels during lactic acid build up.

Muscle strains occur when the tiny fibers that make up the muscle tissue begin to tear when overstretched or overburdened. This tearing can lead to minor or moderate pain that occurs suddenly. When a muscle strain occurs, it is best to stop physical activity and use the RICE treatment: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These actions will help prevent swelling and bruising, which can lead to pain and prolong the healing process. Rest allows the muscle tissues to repair themselves naturally, and not allowing sufficient rest can lead to re-injury or exacerbation of the current injury. Over the counter painkillers are often enough to alleviate the pain, though in more severe cases a doctor may prescribe a more powerful pain reliever as well as anti-inflammatory medication.

Muscle ruptures occur when a muscle tears completely from itself or from a tendon, and when it occurs in the thighs, it can cause extreme muscle pain in the thighs. The muscle is likely to bunch up at one end, leading to bruising and swelling. If this occurs, the injured person should seek a doctor's help immediately, as a ruptured muscle often requires surgery to fix.

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