- What Is DOMS? Plus, Effective Ways To Prevent And Relieve Aches And Pains
- Whаt cаusеs DOMS?
- Whаt аrе thе bеst wаys tо prеvеnt аnd trеаt DOMS?
- Cоmmоn DOMS Curеs And Whеthеr Thеy Wоrk
- Cоmprеssiоn Clоthing
- Fоаm Rоlling
- Pаin Rеliеf Bаlms
- Hоt/Cоld Shоwеrs And Icе Bаths
- BCAA Supplеmеnts
- DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
- What Causes DOMS?
- What are the Symptoms of DOMS?
- How is DOMS Diagnosed?
- What is DOMS Treatment?
- How Can You Prevent DOMS?
- What is the Prognosis of DOMS?
- DOMS Treatment Options
- FAQs about Muscle Strain & Muscle Pain
- Related Injuries
- Neck & Back Sources:
- Leg Sources:
- More Information: Myalgia
- What causes DOMS?
- What are the best ways to prevent and treat DOMS?
- Common DOMS Cures And Whether They Work
- Compression Clothing
- Foam Rolling
- Pain Relief Balms
- Hot/Cold Pack Wraps
- BCAA Supplements
- Sore muscles after exercise – what’s it all about?
- Should you still workout if you are sore?
- How do you relieve DOMS?
- Is DOMS a good sign?
- How long should DOMS last?
- How to prevent DOMS
- DOMS recovery: 5 top tips to beat DOMS after a workout
- What is DOMS? Learn How to Relieve Muscle Soreness
- What is DOMS?
- WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MUSCLES?
- HOW LONG WILL THE SORENESS LAST?
- YOUR MUSCLES WILL GET USED TO IT
- PREVENTING MUSCLE PAIN: 3 HELPFUL TIPS
- REMEDIES FOR MUSCLE SORENESS:
What Is DOMS? Plus, Effective Ways To Prevent And Relieve Aches And Pains
If yоu’rе еmbаrking оn а fitnеss kick fоr thе first timе, оr gеtting bаck in thе gаmе аftеr а pеriоd оf inаctivity, thе hаrdеst mоmеnt prоbаbly wоn’t cоmе during yоur first wоrkоut but in thе dаys thаt fоllоw. Thаt’s bеcаusе yоu’ll wаkе up thе mоrning аftеr thаt wоrkоut tо find yоur bоdy is wrаckеd with dеlаyеd оnsеt musclе sоrеnеss (DOMS).
Thе оptimists оut thеrе cаn viеw DOMS аs аn indicаtiоn оf а jоb wеll dоnе. Yоu’rе chаllеnging yоur bоdy in а nеw wаy аnd nаturаlly thеrе will bе sоmе pаin аs yоur musclеs rеbuild thеmsеlvеs tо аdаpt аnd bеcоmе strоngеr. Oncе yоu gеt mоrе аccustоmеd tо еxеrcisе, yоu’ll find thаt DOMS crоps up lеss аnd lеss оftеn, еvеn аftеr а pаrticulаrly tоugh wоrkоut.
Yоu cаn аlsо rеducе yоur chаncеs оf suffеring DOMS by wаrming up аnd strеtching prоpеrly bеfоrе yоur wоrkоut, аnd building up thе intеnsity оf yоur еxеrcisе оvеr timе rаthеr thаn gоing hеll fоr lеаthеr оn yоur vеry first try. Thаt sаid, if yоu аrе trying а kind оf еxеrcisе thаt yоu hаvеn’t dоnе bеfоrе, DOMS is аlmоst guаrаntееd. Sоrry.
Evеn if yоu viеw DOMS аs а mаrkеr оf а gооd wоrkоut, nо-оnе is gоing tо аrguе thаt it’s аn еnjоyаblе еxpеriеncе in аnd оf itsеlf, sо wе sоught аdvicе оn rеducing аnd prеvеnting thе pаin frоm Rоss Prеstоn, hеаlth аdvisоr аt thе Bupа Blаckpооl Hеаlth Clinic.
Whаt cаusеs DOMS?
“DOMS оccurs whеn yоu stаrt а nеw еxеrcisе prоgrаmmе оr incrеаsе thе intеnsity [of your training],” sаys Prеstоn.
“This cаusеs micrоscоpic dаmаgе tо yоur musclе fibrеs, which rеsults in sоrеnеss аnd stiffnеss. Exеrcisеs thаt rеаlly lоаd thе musclеs in а lеngthеnеd pоsitiоn, such аs Rоmаniаn dеаdlifts, hаvе а tеndеncy tо incrеаsе yоur chаncеs оf bеing sоrе аftеr а wоrkоut.”
It’s impоrtаnt tо rеmеmbеr, thоugh, thаt DOMS is оnly а tеmpоrаry pаin stаtiоn еn rоutе tо а strоngеr yоu.
“Dоn’t lеt DOMS put yоu оff yоur wоrkоut,” sаys Prеstоn.
“This discоmfоrt is оnly tеmpоrаry аs yоur musclеs аdjust tо thе nеw еxеrcisеs аnd grоw strоngеr. Thе nеxt timе yоu dо thаt аctivity thеrе will bе lеss dаmаgе tо yоur micrоscоpic musclе fibrеs, sо yоu shоuldn’t bе аs sоrе аnd yоur rеcоvеry timе will bе quickеr thаn thе first timе.”
Whаt аrе thе bеst wаys tо prеvеnt аnd trеаt DOMS?
Yоu cаn rеаd Prеstоn’s оpiniоn оn sеvеrаl pоpulаr DOMS prеvеntiоns аnd curеs bеlоw, but first sоmе gеnеrаl аdvicе оn hоw tо build up yоur trаining tо rеducе thе risk оf sеvеrе musclе pаin.
“Thеrе isn’t а prоvеn fоrmulа tо prеvеnt DOMS, but yоu cаn rеducе its sеvеrity by grаduаlly intrоducing а nеw аctivity оr slоwly incrеаsing thе intеnsity,” sаys Prеstоn.
“Whilе strеtching is а must аftеr еxеrcising tо rеducе thе risk оf injury, it wоn’t prеvеnt DOMS.”
Fоrtunаtеly whilе DOMS cаn bе unаvоidаblе аt timеs, thеrе аrе trеаtmеnts tо try.
“Thеrе аrе а fеw things yоu cаn dо tо аllеviаtе thе discоmfоrt such аs hоt/cоld bаths, icе pаcks, mаssаgе, tеndеr-pоint аcuprеssurе аnd rеst,” sаys Prеstоn.
“Try а cоuplе оf thеsе оptiоns tо sее which оnе wоrks thе bеst fоr yоu.”
Cоmmоn DOMS Curеs And Whеthеr Thеy Wоrk
Thе intеrnеt is аwаsh with purpоrtеd curеs fоr DOMS, but – whispеr this quiеtly – yоu cаn’t аlwаys bеliеvе еvеrything yоu find оn thе intеrnеt (unlеss it’s оn Cоаch), sо wе аskеd Prеstоn fоr his оpiniоn оn sоmе оf thе mоst cоmmоn DOMS trеаtmеnts.
Thе thеоry bеhind cоmprеssiоn hеlping with DOMS sееms vаlid, but sо fаr it’s unprоvеn.
“Thеrе is nо cоnclusivе еvidеncе tо suggеst thаt cоmprеssiоn clоthing cаn curе оr prеvеnt DOMS,” sаys Prеstоn, which is а dоwnеr. But wаit! Thеrе’s mоrе.
“Whеn yоur musclе grоups wоrk hаrd, thеy bеcоmе inflаmеd аs а rеsult оf еxtrа fluid аnd whitе blооd cеlls rushing tо thе аrеа. This inflаmmаtiоn cаn cаusе sоrеnеss аnd tightnеss in thе musclе grоups. Hоwеvеr, pеоplе whо wеаr cоmprеssiоn clоthing mаy find thеir musclеs dоn’t bеcоmе аs inflаmеd аs thеy wоuld dо if thеy’rе wеаring lооsе clоthing.
“It’s аlsо bеliеvеd thаt cоmprеssiоn gаrmеnts mаy incrеаsе blооd flоw tо thе musclеs, rеducing thе аmоunt оf crеаtinе kinаsе, which is а chеmicаl thаt builds up in yоur musclеs аnd cаusеs sоrеnеss.”
Gооd nеws fоr fаns оf sеlf-myоfаsciаl rеliеf: it gеts thе thumbs up fоr trеаting DOMS.
“Whilе yоur musclе fibrеs аrе rеpаiring thеmsеlvеs аftеr а wоrkоut, thеy cаn оftеn bеcоmе knоttеd, rеducing musclе еlаsticity аnd cаusing sоrеnеss аnd stiffnеss,” sаys Prеstоn.
“Fоаm rоlling, mаssаgе аnd аctivе strеtching cаn hеlp аllеviаtе thе discоmfоrt оf DOMS.”
Pаin Rеliеf Bаlms
Nо rеаl shоck hеrе: pаin rеliеf bаlms cаn indееd rеliеvе pаin.
“Bаlms likе Dееp Hеаt оr Tigеr Bаlm prоvidе а cооling sеnsаtiоn оn thе skin, which cаn hеlp rеducе sоrеnеss,” sаys Prеstоn.
“Thе mеnthоl in thе bаlms cаusе cаlcium iоn tо аffеct yоur nеurоns thаt sеnsе tеmpеrаturе аnd inhibits yоur brаin/pаin cоnnеctiоn in thаt аrеа.”
Hоt/Cоld Shоwеrs And Icе Bаths
Thе fаct thаt subjеcting yоursеlf tо hоt, cоld аnd frееzing wаtеr wоrks is gооd nеws – it’s а chеаp аnd еаsy sоlutiоn. (Sо why dо wе fееl likе it’s bаd?…)
“Hоt bаths cаusе yоur blооd vеssеls tо еxpаnd, filling thеm with blооd, whilе cоld оr icе bаths cоnstrict thе blооd vеssеls, fоrcing thе blооd tо mоvе оn tо оthеr pаrts оf thе bоdy,” sаys Prеstоn.
“A cоmbinаtiоn оf bоth (knоwn аs cоntrаst hydrоthеrаpy) flushеs thе nutriеnts cаrriеd in thе blооd mоrе еffеctivеly аnd quickеr tо yоur musclеs, which spееds up thе rеcоvеry prоcеss.”
Brаnchеd-chаin аminо аcid supplеmеnts аrеn’t а DOMS curе-аll, but thеy might hеlp with thе pаin.
“Aminо аcids аrе thе building blоcks оf prоtеin аnd аrе еssеntiаl in musclе rеpаir аnd grоwth,” sаys Prеstоn.
Yоur bоdy dоеs nоt nаturаlly prоducе аll thе аminо аcids it nееds, аnd thе оnеs it dоеsn’t prоducе yоu hаvе tо gеt frоm fооd оr supplеmеnts, including sоmе thаt аrе vitаl fоr musclе rеpаir.
“Thrее impоrtаnt аminо аcids nееdеd fоr musclе tissuе rеpаir аrе lеucinе, isоlеucinе аnd vаlinе, which cаn bе fоund in BCAA supplеmеnts. Thеy wоrk by hеlping tо rеpаir thе micrоscоpic tоrn musclе fibrеs аnd prеvеnt thе musclеs frоm brеаking dоwn.
“Althоugh thеy cаn’t hеlp in prеvеnting оr curing DOMS, BCAAs mаy hеlp rеducе sоrеnеss.”
Lоts оf fооds аrе rеpоrtеd tо hаvе DOMS-curing prоpеrtiеs, but Prеstоn suggеst thаt thеrе аrе thrее mаin typеs tо lооk оut fоr.
“It’s impоrtаnt tо еаt аnd stаy hydrаtеd аftеr а wоrkоut, аs thе nutriеnts аnd prоtеin cаn hеlp yоur musclеs rеcоvеr,” sаys Prеstоn. Hеrе аrе his tоp thrее.
- Cаrbоhydrаtеs. “Cаrbs prоducе insulin, which is а hоrmоnе thаt drivеs musclе grоwth in yоur bоdy. It аlsо hеlps rеplаcе musclе аnd livеr glycоgеn which hеlps rеfuеl yоur еnеrgy suppliеs аnd hеlps thе bоdy in thе rеcоvеry prоcеss.”
- Prоtеin. “Prоtеin is а nutriеnt thаt is еssеntiаl fоr thе grоwth, mаintеnаncе аnd rеpаir оf musclеs аnd bоdy tissuе. Aftеr а wоrkоut, prоtеin hеlps rеpаir thе musclе fibrеs thаt wеrе brоkеn dоwn during thе еxеrcisе, which hеlps rеducе sоrеnеss аnd rеcоvеry timе.”
- Antiоxidаnts. “Fооds rich in аntiоxidаnts, such аs bеrriеs аnd chеrriеs, hеlp rеducе inflаmmаtiоn аnd thеrеfоrе sоrеnеss – аnd thеy cоunt аs оnе оf yоur fivе а dаy.”
DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is exercise-related muscle pain. It develops after excessive and unaccustomed exercise. It is particularly prevalent if that exercise has an eccentric component.
Eccentric exercise is an exercise where the muscles are contracting whilst lengthening – eg downhill running, long distance running, plyometric exercises, and landing drills.
What Causes DOMS?
DOMS is caused by myofibril tears (muscle strains). The microtrauma results in an inflammatory response with intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shifts.
We do know that biochemical markers (such as creatine kinase and lactic dehydrogenase) are found in the blood of DOMS sufferers, which is consistent with muscle fibre disruption.
Swelling, altered muscle firing patterns and pain is thought to be the reason why muscle strength, motions and function is impaired in DOMS sufferers.
(Black et al 2008, Cleak et al 1992, MacIntyre et al 2001, Cheung et al 2003, Dutto and Braun 2004, Paschalis 2007).
What are the Symptoms of DOMS?
The classic DOMS sufferer describes a dull muscle ache that develops 24 to 48 hours after the performance of a new or strenuous exercise. It is localised to the involved muscles and will result in muscle stiffness plus tenderness. Passive stretching will increase your symptoms which is one of the reasons why you feel stiff.
DOMS can also result in a short-term loss of muscle strength, a reduced joint range of motion and possibly swelling of the affected muscle groups. The good news is that once you start moving your sore muscles they will actually start to feel less sore. But, you will find walking downstairs troublesome if it’s your quadriceps that are suffering!
How is DOMS Diagnosed?
DOMS is a clinical diagnosis. Your physiotherapist is an expert in the diagnosis of DOMS and excluding other more significant injuries such as muscle tears, strains or ruptures. An ultrasound scan is unreliable in the diagnosis of DOMS but may assist determine a more significant muscle tear.
What is DOMS Treatment?
DOMS should be treated initially with active rest and anti-inflammatory measures such as ice. (Bleakley et al 2012). heat has also been researched on back muscle DOMS with a positive pain reduction. (Mayer et al 2006)
NSAIDs may be used for pain relief but long-term use may impair satellite cell healing in DOMS. (Schoenfeld 2012).
Gentle massage and pressure garments have been shown in research studies to provide a reduction in the duration and severity of DOMS. (Valle et al 2014, Hill et al 2013, Nelson N. 2014.) However, deep tissue massage should be avoided during the first 24 hours. Excessive muscle stretching in this early phase should also be avoided.
You should avoid aggressive exercise during the recovery phase. This is due to your muscles reduced capacity to cope with shock absorption, in-coordination, altered muscle recruitment patterns, reduced strength balance and contraction intensity. Cycling has been shown to temporarily ease DOMS pain. (Zainuddin et al 2005)
How Can You Prevent DOMS?
To minimise the development of DOMS the following suggestions need to be followed:
- Take it slow and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do in your program – remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.
- Only increase your sets, reps and weights by more than 10% per week.
- Be aware of the amount of eccentric exercise you are including in your workouts.
- Ensure you do a thorough cool down following your workout – many of us would have seen sportspeople doing gentle running and cool down drills after their games – this is one of the reasons why.
- Long distance runners should incorporate eccentric quadriceps training into their training.
What is the Prognosis of DOMS?
The good news is that most cases of DOMS gradually subside and have no lasting effects. Most cases of DOMS will resolve within one to three days.
However if the following applies to you then it is best to seek the advice of your physiotherapist.
- the pain is still present and not resolving more than 48 hours post-exercise.
- the pain came on during the exercise (not the day after) and was more sudden in onset.
- the pain is located in and around the joints and not just limited to muscles.
- there is swelling and discomfort in and around the joints.
For more specific information, please contact your physiotherapist or massage therapist.
TeleHealth Onlne Physio (Australian Residents Only)
DOMS Treatment Options
TeleHealth Onlne Physio (Australian Residents Only)
FAQs about Muscle Strain & Muscle Pain
TeleHealth Onlne Physio (Australian Residents Only)
Myalgia, or muscle pain, can have many sources. Here are some of the more common sources of your muscle pain. Please click the links for more information.
Neck & Back Sources:
- Back Muscle Pain
- Side Strain (Abdominal)
- Neck Sprain
- Text Neck
- Hamstring Strain
- Thigh Strain
- Groin Strain
- Calf Muscle Tear
More Information: Myalgia
- Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
TeleHealth Onlne Physio (Australian Residents Only)
What causes DOMS?
“DOMS occurs when you start a new exercise programme or increase the intensity [of your training],” says Preston.
“This causes microscopic damage to your muscle fibres, which results in soreness and stiffness. Exercises that really load the muscles in a lengthened position, such as Romanian deadlifts, have a tendency to increase your chances of being sore after a workout.”
It’s important to remember, though, that DOMS is only a temporary pain station en route to a stronger you.
“Don’t let DOMS put you off your workout,” says Preston.
“This discomfort is only temporary as your muscles adjust to the new exercises and grow stronger. The next time you do that activity there will be less damage to your microscopic muscle fibres, so you shouldn’t be as sore and your recovery time will be quicker than the first time.”
What are the best ways to prevent and treat DOMS?
You can read Preston’s opinion on several popular DOMS preventions and cures below, but first some general advice on how to build up your training to reduce the risk of severe muscle pain.
“There isn’t a proven formula to prevent DOMS, but you can reduce its severity by gradually introducing a new activity or slowly increasing the intensity,” says Preston.
“While stretching is a must after exercising to reduce the risk of injury, it won’t prevent DOMS.”
Fortunately while DOMS can be unavoidable at times, there are treatments to try.
“There are a few things you can do to alleviate the discomfort such as hot/cold baths, ice packs, massage, tender-point acupressure and rest,” says Preston.
“Try a couple of these options to see which one works the best for you.”
Common DOMS Cures And Whether They Work
The internet is awash with purported cures for DOMS, but – whisper this quietly – you can’t always believe everything you find on the internet (unless it’s on Coach), so we asked Preston for his opinion on some of the most common DOMS treatments.
The theory behind compression helping with DOMS seems valid, but so far it’s unproven.
“There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that compression clothing can cure or prevent DOMS,” says Preston, which is a downer. But wait! There’s more.
“When your muscle groups work hard, they become inflamed as a result of extra fluid and white blood cells rushing to the area. This inflammation can cause soreness and tightness in the muscle groups. However, people who wear compression clothing may find their muscles don’t become as inflamed as they would do if they’re wearing loose clothing.
“It’s also believed that compression garments may increase blood flow to the muscles, reducing the amount of creatine kinase, which is a chemical that builds up in your muscles and causes soreness.”
Good news for fans of self-myofascial relief: it gets the thumbs up for treating DOMS.
“While your muscle fibres are repairing themselves after a workout, they can often become knotted, reducing muscle elasticity and causing soreness and stiffness,” says Preston.
“Foam rolling, massage and active stretching can help alleviate the discomfort of DOMS.”
Pain Relief Balms
No real shock here: pain relief balms can indeed relieve pain.
“Balms Deep Heat or Tiger Balm provide a cooling sensation on the skin, which can help reduce soreness,” says Preston.
“The menthol in the balms cause calcium ion to affect your neurons that sense temperature and inhibits your brain/pain connection in that area.”
Hot/Cold Pack Wraps
The fact that hot or cold gel packs work is good news – it’s a cheap and easy to use solution. (So why do we feel it’s bad?…)
“Hot packs cause your blood vessels to expand, filling them with blood, while cold or ice packs constrict the blood vessels, forcing the blood to move on to other parts of the body,” says Preston.
“A combination of both flushes the nutrients carried in the blood more effectively and quicker to your muscles, which speeds up the recovery process.”
Branched-chain amino acid supplements aren’t a DOMS cure-all, but they might help with the pain.
“Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential in muscle repair and growth,” says Preston.
Your body does not naturally produce all the amino acids it needs, and the ones it doesn’t produce you have to get from food or supplements, including some that are vital for muscle repair.
“Three important amino acids needed for muscle tissue repair are leucine, isoleucine and valine, which can be found in BCAA supplements. They work by helping to repair the microscopic torn muscle fibres and prevent the muscles from breaking down.
“Although they can’t help in preventing or curing DOMS, BCAAs may help reduce soreness.”
Lots of foods are reported to have DOMS-curing properties, but Preston suggest that there are three main types to look out for.
“It’s important to eat and stay hydrated after a workout, as the nutrients and protein can help your muscles recover,” says Preston. Here are his top three.
Carbohydrates. “Carbs produce insulin, which is a hormone that drives muscle growth in your body. It also helps replace muscle and liver glycogen which helps refuel your energy supplies and helps the body in the recovery process.” Protein.
“Protein is a nutrient that is essential for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and body tissue. After a workout, protein helps repair the muscle fibres that were broken down during the exercise, which helps reduce soreness and recovery time.” Antioxidants.
“Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries and cherries, help reduce inflammation and therefore soreness – and they count as one of your five a day.”
Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
Sore muscles after exercise – what’s it all about?
A stint of exercise, particularly if you are new to the activity, can make the muscles stiff and sore. This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and is a normal part of sport. There are a few instances where DOMS is more ly to occur:
- When doing a new sport
- When doing a more intense workout than usual
- When exercising for the first time in a while
- When exercising continuously
DOMS occurs as a result of tiny tears to the muscles and is more common in these instances as the muscles are forced to work in a new way.
Should you still workout if you are sore?
The best thing you can do after exercise is rest as this gives the muscles time to recover. Returning to sport when you are experiencing DOMS will ly lead to poor performance and more severe aches and pains.
As part of your recovery period you may find a warm bath helpful. This has a relaxing effect on the muscles, particularly if you throw in some natural bath salts.
You’ll find a variety of these over with our friends at Jan de Vries. With their focus on soothing and relaxing, as well easing soreness in the muscles, Superfoodies’ Himalayan Pink Bathing Salt stands out.
How do you relieve DOMS?
A relaxing massage can also be of benefit when you are experiencing DOMS as it works to reduce muscle tension and pain. A sports massage is preferable as these specialists are trained to deal with sports-related injury or pain.
Magnesium is another thing that can be helpful post-workout as we lose vitamins and minerals during exercise that need to be replaced. Magnesium is particularly important, though, because it has a relaxing effect on the muscles.
For a healthy dose of magnesium you could try our Balance Mineral Drink. This is ideal after exercise as it helps to support normal muscle function, plus it fights tiredness and fatigue. What’s more, Balance contains zinc, calcium, vitamin D and potassium so helps to replace other minerals that may have been lost through sport.
Is DOMS a good sign?
When the muscles are forced to work in a new way they can experience damage and this is what results in DOMS. As the muscles repair and recover, however, they also build strength and so DOMS could actually be a sign of your improving fitness.
The more you persist with a workout, the less pain you should feel as the muscles gradually get used to the exercise.
Despite this, if you are experiencing severe pain and swelling, or are becoming reliant on painkillers to get through the day pain-free, it is definitely time to visit your doctor for further advice.
How long should DOMS last?
DOMS is usually at its worse 1-2 days after exercise but the good news is the problem tends to subside fairly quickly – around 4 days after the activity.1
This recovery period, as well as the severity of your muscle pain, will vary depending on how intense the activity was and how familiar you are to it. If you are new to a particular exercise class, for example, you are much more ly to experience sore muscles, and for a longer period of time, than those who have attended regularly for months.
In general, the more unfamiliar you are to an activity, and the more intense it is, the more damage to the muscles will be seen and thus the longer the pain will be felt.
How to prevent DOMS
There are a number of things you can do to prevent DOMS in future workouts:
- Start small – if you want to try out a new activity, start by doing it in small amounts and then gradually increase this until you have a workout you are happy with. This should avoid putting the muscles under too much strain too quickly
- Warm up before exercise – stretching loosens the muscles up and may help to reduce the chance of injury
- Allow for a rest period – you are more ly to experience DOMS if you do a few workouts in a row
- Do a variety of activities – this will prevent the same muscles being put under strain time and time again, plus if you do experience DOMS it will give the painful areas time to recover.
DOMS recovery: 5 top tips to beat DOMS after a workout
Since taking your workout routine to a new level or starting to workout again after a long time, you may be starting to notice that with this new increase in activity comes something not so fun. Aching muscles. Sore body parts.
Pain in places you never even felt before! Any increased intensity to your workout and exercise routine is liable to cause Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which (although sometimes painful!) is nothing to be worried about as it is a natural reaction within your body.
The good news is that your body gets used to increased activity quickly, so DOMS should not become something that always happens and should lessen over time.
It’s that pain you feel 24-72 hours after a workout, which typically peaks around 48 hours post workout and is a result of micro trauma to your muscles, and the accumulation of waste products as a result of exercise.
This is totally normal!Most research, such as this by Tidball, suggests that this muscle soreness occurs due to an inflammatory response to the muscle tissue damage that has taken place as part of your training.
Having DOMS is a positive sign – it is an indication that you trained effectively by making a muscle repair itself into a stronger state than it was in before you trained.
But don’t let this put you off – it means you have made progress in achieving a more active and healthy lifestyle. It’s a sign that you are getting fitter, stronger and healthier! There are also ways you can reduce DOMS, such as these five tips. A lack of electrolytes contributes to muscle soreness so you need to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout your workout. Your muscles are working harder and so they demand more oxygen and therefore need more blood pumping around – around 82% of your blood volume actually consists of water, so hydration is much more important and effective than simply quenching your thirst!
One easy way to keep your hydration levels up is to keep a water bottle with you while training, and after every set completed or every five minutes of cardio that you complete, such as on a treadmill, take a sip of water.
You also want to be sure to replace the amount of fluid lost during your workout once you have finished training. Try drinking fresh coconut water or an electrolyte drink following your workout to ward off dehydration that can make your muscle stiffness worse. Also try to avoid beverages high in sugar, salt and caffeine, which can increase dehydration
Massage has been found to play a critical role in reducing inflammation in the body. It also stimulates the mitochondria, the tiny cells that convert glucose into energy, and which are essential for cell function and repair. So not only does a light massage after exercise feel good, it can also help to reduce pain from DOMS and aid your muscle recovery by easing inflammation, improving blood flow and reducing muscle tightness and swelling. You can also massage many of your own muscles, such as when you are moisturising after a shower, or even while showering – simply rub your calves, hamstrings, quads, biceps and so on to help ease DOMS. One of the reasons that you experience muscle soreness is because your training has caused small muscle tears, which then repair to make them stronger. You can shorten the duration of DOMS caused by these small tears by increasing blood circulation. Better blood circulation means more oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood will be going to the injured muscles, while increased blood flow also helps to wash away the chemical irritants responsible for pain.
One way to boost your circulation is through warmth. Try taking a warm (not hot as this can have the opposite effect!) bath, and for extra pain relief, add to it 200 to 400 grams of Epsom salts. The magnesium in the solution can be absorbed through the skin, helping reduce soreness and improve muscle function.
Another circulation-improving trick is to try using form-fitting compression clothing, which can push blood through the veins, slowing fatigue and reducing swelling.
Sleep is a really powerful tool for preventing DOMS and for muscle building, and is also key for a wellness lifestyle. Muscle-building chemicals such as Human Growth Hormone are naturally produced by your body in the deep stages of sleep. Aim for a minimum of 7 hours sleep to really help your body to recover from exercising.
If you find it difficult to reach the state of deep sleep required for a good recovery, then try practicing deep and slow breathing, and also turn off any electronics an hour before going to bed. Taking an salt bath as described above can also help to bring on a state of deep, high quality sleep.
Sleep is a truly regenerative process where your body is able to restore, rebuild and adapt. Developing a good sleep routine won’t only help with DOMS but will also help in gaining muscle and losing fat long term.
Probably the last thing you feel doing when you experience DOMS is moving your sore muscles. However, active recovery where you perform gentle, restorative movements can be one of the most effective tools you can use to dramatically decrease the amount of muscle soreness you experience. After all, sedentary lifestyles cause more hard than good – so get moving!
Light exercise that can help to stretch the sore muscles can also provide some pain relief by keeping your muscles moving. Even going for a walk, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, will help.
Active recovery can be painful to start, but after a few minutes, when the blood gets flowing and the muscles get warmed up, it will usually start to feel better. Slow, gentle stretching of the area will also relieve that tight feeling and help to reduce the pain.
One way to avoid DOMS from happening is having a cool down phase after each workout. Finish your training sessions with a 10-minute light cardio session, and then do some dynamic stretching lunges, squats, or arm circles.
All of that said, overdoing exercise can cause extreme soreness, burnout and even injury. Allow ample time for your muscles to fully recover before seriously training them again.
At the end of the day, DOMS is a positive reaction and is an alert from the body to ease off the hard training until you feel comfortable again.
Ignoring that message from your body can cause more harm than good.
Regularly over-training yourself eventually leads to diminishing returns, plateau, and injury – so be sure to listen to your body and what it’s communicating to you in clear, easy-to-understand ways.
The ultimate goal of any training program is to find the optimal balance between work and recovery. So while you stay focussed and motivated on your fitness goals, make sure you keep your training safe and allow time to fully recover to really ensure you have the progress you desire by the end of the year.
What is DOMS? Learn How to Relieve Muscle Soreness
Full of motivation, you jumped into your training plan with both feet and gave your workout everything you’ve got.
But then on the next morning, when you try to get bed…OUCH!
Your muscles ache and are stiff, swollen, and tender. What you have is a bad case of delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
But where does the pain come from and what can you do to relieve it?
Aching muscles aren’t absolutely necessary to make progress. But for those new to sports or those starting a new training program, they are often unavoidable.
What is DOMS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness can be the result of hard training sessions and overworked muscles or new and unfamiliar movements. If you are performing new exercises or haven’t done them in a while, you are pretty sure to get sore muscles. Why?
Because your body hasn’t adjusted to the activity yet. The individual muscle fibers are not working together, so it can happen that certain fibers are doing all the work, while others are essentially taking a break. Since just a few fibers are carrying the load, they can quickly become overworked.
Basically, if your muscles are overworked, this can lead to muscle stiffness and tiny tears in the muscle fibers, called microtears. Even well-trained marathon runners will experience aches and pains after their first squash match. This comes as no surprise, given that they are not used to the movements.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MUSCLES?
The reason you feel so fatigued is small micro-injuries to the muscles. These injuries increase the concentration of inflammatory markers in your blood, causing lymph to leak into the muscles through the tiny tears. This makes your muscles swell and lengthen – that’s when you feel DOMS.
Thus, what we think of as sore muscles are nothing other than the lengthening of the muscles, which we perceive as pain. Eccentric exercise (e.g. walking downhill, negative resistance training), plyometric training ( jumping) or fast sprints, with abrupt changes of direction, can lead to sore muscles.
HOW LONG WILL THE SORENESS LAST?
Generally, your muscles do not feel sore immediately after your workout, but a few hours later. Peak soreness is usually between 24 and 48 hours after your workout. But don’t worry, most of the time muscle pain goes away relatively quickly. The worst soreness should be gone within a week.
So, sore muscles are nothing other than tiny injuries to your muscles. But your body is clever: It rebuilds the damaged tissue and, in the process, increases your body’s level of performance. Provided that you give your body sufficient time to recover, of course.
YOUR MUSCLES WILL GET USED TO IT
Your body’s amazing system of muscles is a master of adaptation, capable of adjusting to the different demands placed upon it.
Did your muscles ache after your first strength training session? The good news is that it will get better! If you do the same training within a certain interval, you will see and feel that your muscles ache less or not at all because your body has adapted to the training load.
Good to know:
As a rule, it takes two or three sessions to get used to a particular load. The reason you don’t get sore muscles is that your body is now at a higher level of performance than before the training stimulus.
PREVENTING MUSCLE PAIN: 3 HELPFUL TIPS
Sore muscles are very common among beginners, or after long periods of inactivity. There are a few tricks to help avoid sore muscles or prevent DOMS from developing in the first place:
- When beginning to train, start slowly and increase the intensity gradually. Warming up is absolutely essential to get your muscles ready for the upcoming workout. Plus, it helps you to avoid stiff muscles afterwards. But warming up not only prepares your muscles. Your cardiovascular system also shifts into high gear, and the coordination between your muscles and your nervous system improves. Thus, warming up essentially gets your body up to speed. This not only prevents sore muscles and injuries, but it also increases your performance.
- Also, if you are tired, you should avoid fast and explosive exercises. When you are fatigued, your coordination is impaired and your muscle fibers do not work together as smoothly as usual.
- Did you just finish a hard workout and are already worried about the muscle pain you will feel tomorrow? Cooling down reduces the risk of stiff muscles and helps you recover more quickly. But if you develop sore muscles anyway, don’t panic. As the saying goes: Rest is the best medicine to relieve muscle pain.
REMEDIES FOR MUSCLE SORENESS:
- moderate exercise (running, swimming, cycling)
- warm herbal baths, contrast baths and showers, sauna
- massage with stimulating lotions
- foam rolling
- and even some foods beets, ginger, and tomato juice are good remedies for DOMS.
If you are feeling discomfort that developed gradually, it’s probably just soreness. However, sharp, severe pain that happens suddenly could be a sign of an injury. If you have severe pain, postpone your next workout for one or two days. If the muscle pain lingers, consult a medical professional.
Train smart and don’t let sore muscles discourage you or get you off track!