DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness


Firstly WTF are DOMS?

Have you ever felt pain and stiffness in your muscles several hours or even days after working out or performing some type of physical activity? Have simple activities such as walking, picking up things you’ve dropped on the floor or even going to toilet ever felt difficult the day (or a few days) after a workout? Well, that my friends is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). 

Put more eloquently DOMS can be defined as “a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitise nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.”

What Causes DOMS and who is affected?

DOMS can affect anyone and typically occur when someone is starting workout out, when changing up an exercise routine and performing new/different movements or when the duration or intensity of a workout is increased. 

Will I always get DOMS?

Overtime (if you are consistent with your exercise routine) your body and muscles will begin to adapt to the physical demands being placed on them. This results in increased stamina, strength and recovery and decreased soreness and stiffness after exercise. 

How do I make my DOMS go away?

  • Rest – ensure you are giving your muscles enough time to repair and recover after exercise.
  • Ice or Heat – Studies have shown that applying ice or heat to the affected muscles can result in a reduction of pain.
  • Gentle Massage – Studies have also shown that gentle massages can result in “a reduction of the duration and severity of DOMS.”
  • Physical Activity – While this point my seem counterintuitive research has shown that certain activities such as cycling and swimming can ease muscle soreness and stiffness (however, only temporarily). 

Preventing DOMS?

In some cases DOMS will be unavoidable and while you can’t prevent it outright there are a few things you can do to minimise its effects:

  • If you’re new to exercise or using a new exercise routine be sure to build up to it gradually, that way you give your muscles time to adapt. 
  • Ensuring that you are getting the right type of nutrition before and after a workout can help to ease soreness.

Just some food for thought


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