If your abs have been sore for a week, it may be time to reach out to your doctor. If you’re experiencing sharp, shooting, or nagging pain, this could be a sign of serious muscle damage. However, it’s likely the pain is being caused by a long-lasting case of post-workout soreness. If the pain is not severe, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen and avoid ab exercise until you improve. To increase the rate at which your muscles recover from soreness, drink lots of water, eat a high-protein diet that includes BCAA supplements, and take hot and/or cold showers.
Is it Normal to Have Muscle Pain For a Week?
Typically, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) from working out subsides on its own within 2–3 days. However, if you haven’t worked out in a long time, performed a new ab workout, or worked your abs to exhaustion, soreness can linger for a week or more. Although this is rare, it can happen.
- Typically, post-workout soreness disappears after 2–3 days.
- A new workout, or an extremely difficult workout, can cause abdominal soreness lasting a week or more.
- If you are experiencing intense or sharp pain, this could be a sign of a muscle injury.
- If your urine is dark, red, or brown, you could be experiencing rhabdomyolysis due to muscle damage.
It’s important to monitor your own condition. If the soreness is not improving, or if the pain is sharp, shooting, or stabbing, you may be suffering from a muscle tear that demands medical attention. Check your urine. If it is darker in color, including red or brown, this could be a sign of rhabdomyolysis, a type of kidney failure caused by serious muscle damage.
Why Do Your Abs Hurt For Days After Working Out?
Typically, extreme abdominal soreness occurs when you push your stomach muscles past their limit. Doing an extremely intense ab workout causes small tears in your muscles that your body has to work hard to repair. This process of tearing, inflammation, and repair is why you’re experiencing soreness.
- An ab workout puts small tears in your muscles. The inflammation from this muscle damage is what causes typical post-workout soreness.
- As your body repairs muscle damage, soreness will diminish.
- Sore abs will hurt throughout the day because they are used during so many activities.
Unlike other muscles, which are not used for every activity, it can be difficult to get through a typical day with abdominal pain caused by sore abs. Simple activities like standing still and sitting work your abs, which can cause you to feel that painful soreness. In contrast, you probably won’t feel your sore legs or chest when you’re not moving. Your abs will remind you of their soreness nonstop.
7 Things You Should Do if You’ve Had Sore Abs for a Week
If you’ve had abdominal pain from sore abs for a week, the first thing on your mind is relief. That’s what we’re here for. Let’s get rid of that sore ab stomach pain right away. Here’s how:
Contact Your Doctor
If you believe your ab soreness is abnormal, reach out to your doctor and schedule an appointment. Signs of dangerous ab soreness include:
- Sharp or shooting pains.
- Pain that limits your range of motion.
- Soreness that does not subside.
- Darkening of the urine.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, contact a medical professional. Rule out a serious injury before trying the other methods on this list.
Use Gentle Pain Relief
To combat abdominal pain from muscle soreness, it’s perfectly acceptable to use an over-the-counter NSAID. Ibuprofen or aspirin are great choices. Although some fitness gurus swear that using an NSAID will undo your workout, scientific studies suggest this isn’t the case. By reducing inflammation, you’ll decrease muscle pain and be able to recover pain-free.
Limit Abdominal Exercise
If you have sore abs for an extended period of time, give them time to recover. Do not perform any ab-focused exercise. Additionally, avoid compound exercises that recruit the abs. This includes squats, deadlifts, and overhead press. Even pull-ups work your abs to a certain extent. By limiting strenuous physical activity, your abs will be allowed time to recover. Working sore or injured abs can increase the severity of the injury. So, take a few days off from the gym.
Scientific studies show that dehydration is directly linked to more severe Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. So, your abdominal pain will be worse if you’re not getting enough to drink. Drink 15.5 cups of water (3.7 liters) of water per day to fully hydrate yourself. This will help reduce your soreness and muscle inflammation.
Get Plenty of Protein
Ab soreness is caused by microscopic tears in your muscles that result from working out. These small tears are a good thing—they trigger your body to repair your muscles bigger and stronger than before. However, your body needs the building blocks to repair muscles. These building blocks come in the form of protein. Eat high-protein foods such as meat, fish, nuts, and tofu. By providing your muscles with protein, they’ll repair faster and the soreness will disappear.
Take a BCAA Supplement
In addition to protein from your diet, BCAA supplements have been proven to reduce muscle soreness. This BCAA supplement contains Branched Chain Amino Acids—the type of protein most responsible for muscle repair. By adding BCAAs to your post-workout recovery plan, you’ll reduce soreness faster. Soon, your abdominal pain will be a thing of the past.
Try Hot and Cold Showers
Few things are better for sore muscles than a good shower. Whether you make that shower hot or cold is up to you. This study showed that both hot and cold water immersion helped to reduce muscle soreness. Although cold water seems to have a bit of an edge in reducing soreness, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the frigid temperatures. Either way, a long shower will help reduce ab soreness and get you ready to work out again.
What Should You Do if Your Abs Have Been Sore for a Week?
Long term ab soreness is best combated by the following:
- Call your doctor in the case of extreme, sharp, or mobility-limiting pain.
- Take an NSAID such as ibuprofen to lessen pain and soreness.
- Don’t perform exercises that tax your abs.
- Hydrate yourself with plenty of water.
- Eat a high-protein diet.
- Help your muscles recover with a BCAA supplement.
- Take hot or cold showers—both are proven to help.
These tactics will reduce and eliminate the stomach pain associated with sore abdominal muscles. If the pain persists or worsens, seek medical attention. Your health comes foremost.