Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness
What is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?
The muscle soreness that you’re feeling is called Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is a kind of muscle pain (‘good’ pain, not sharp pain) – muscle soreness occurs 12-48 hours after exercise and sometimes later. It happens usually at the beginning of a new an exercise program after a dramatic increase in the duration or intensity of exercise.
Why does this happen?
This muscle soreness is normal – it is a response to unusual exertion and is part of an adaptation process. This usually results in greater endurance and strength as the muscles recover and increase in size.
What is the difference between soreness and pain?
This sort of muscle pain is not quite the same as the muscle pain or fatigue you experience during exercise. This delayed pain is also very different than the acute, sudden pain of and injury such as muscle strains and sprains, which is marked by an abrupt, specific and sudden pain that occurs during activity and often causes swelling or bruising.
The delayed soreness of DOMS is generally at its worst within the first 2 days following the activity and reduces over the next few days.
DOMS can be quite irritating, particularly for those new to an exercise program or adding new activities.
Scientific reasoning to DOMS
Delayed o nset muscle sorenessis due to the microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. The amount of tearing (and soreness) depends on how hard and how long you exercise and what type of exercise you do.
Any new exercises can lead to DOMS, but research have shown that exercises that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens seem to cause the most soreness, this is called eccentric contraction.
How to cure it?
There have been a lot of debates and studies on how to cure it, but there is no proper conclusion to it.
Taking the strategies from different studies, we found a few things that you can do to reduce it. Try out the different ways and see what’s best for you. One of the best wat to reducing DOMs is not to have it in.
- Warm up before your workout, followed by stretching. Take 10 minutes to do this.
- Cool down and stretch after exercise
- Be progressive – start slow and increase the intensity gradually – the first 2 weeks of our workouts are Learning Mode, followed by the Empowerment mode. Increase your intensity by 10% per week.
- Work out Safely
- Get a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional to ensure that your workout program is safe and effective.
- Rest and wait it out. It usually will subside after 3 days to a week (no treatment)
- Stretch! Many find that stretching makes it feel good. But bear in mind that research does not find that gentle stretching reduces soreness. Doing Yoga may help too.
- Warm up properly. Research have shown that warm up before new eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness.
- Cold water Bath, many professional athletes use them and claim they work to reduce soreness. There is not many research on this though.
- Exercise. Do low level exercise, called active recovery techniques. Research have shown that this works. Do some easy low-impact aerobic exercise such as brisk walking and slow jogging to increase blood flow
- Massage. Massage the affected muscles gently. This is effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling, and is backed up by research.
- If it is too much for you – see a doctor – He may give you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin or ibuprofen) to help reduce the soreness temporarily
- Drink pineapple juice (with no added sugar) 30 minutes after your workout. It contains bromelain (enzyme) and is known to reduce soreness.
The best thing to do is to equip yourself with the knowledge – why DOMS occur and how to prevent / cure it. Push on with your exercise programme, and remember to be progressive with the intensity and duration overload.
Live well, exercise smart!