A hot bath may feel better initially, but giving muscles the cold treatment via ice after exercise is most beneficial, says Joseph Bosco, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) who specializes in sports medicine. "A hot bath will provide overall relaxation and mild pain relief, but icing actually prevents further muscle damage and speeds healing," says Bosco, who recommends soothing achy muscles with crushed ice in a waterproof bag, wrapped in a towel.
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