Ice the muscles for at least 10 minutes immediately after you are done exercising. Later, apply heat, either with a heating pad or by taking a warm bath—but not until 24 hours later, because heat can increase inflammation if applied too soon. Do 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact exercise, such as walking, to enhance the blood flow to the area and facilitate healing. Do some gentle stretching, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds at a time. Use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, sparingly, because it actually slows the body's muscle-repair process.

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