Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – “DOMS”
Have you taken a break from exercising and just recently hit the gym or pavement where you had an intense work out and the next day had muscle soreness?
Or did you read Clarence’s blog last week about the effects of sitting and become motivated to start a new work out regime?
Either way – after your first work out day in a long dry spell of no work out days, chances are you woke up the next morning with achey, stiff or sore muscles. Sound familiar? This could mean you are experiencing DOMS – “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” – a term used to describe muscle soreness and stiffness the day after a new or hard work out.
After a work out that taxes your body to fitness levels that you are not used to, muscle soreness happens within 6-8 hours after exercise and peaks roughly at the 48 hour mark. The level of soreness is very individual and work out dependant. The question is, can you attribute this feeling to meaning you had a good work out and are building muscle?
Yes and No. DOMS does indicate that you have stressed your muscles and have pushed yourself in your workout, thus improving your fitness. Although if you are starting a new fitness regime then you want to build up slowly because DOMS can mean that you have to take longer recovery times between workouts and can make getting back into your routine progress slower. The general assumption is that muscle soreness is from a build up of lactic acid and metabolic waste but this has since been disproven. Recent exercise science journals indicate that the real reason for your soreness is from inflammation in the muscle causing microscopic tears in the connective tissue which in turn heightens the sensations of pain. The good news is – as these tears heal, your muscles are getting stronger and increasing the amount of exercise they can handle. Building and increasing your exercise load slowly still allows you to build muscle and it also means you can avoid future soreness. If you’re like most and have already kicked your own butt, leaving yourself with sore muscles from working out don’t feel discouraged!
Here are some tips for easing the pain and recovering quickly to get back to your routine where you will better understand your limits and can build slowly.
- Participate in Light activity and/or receive a massage on the sore muscles. This can make the muscles more elastic and increase range of motion which will ease the pain.
- Use a Foam Roller to increase blood flow to your muscles through applied pressure (see exercises below).
- Do some heat therapy by taking a warm bath or using a heating pad.
- Drink lots of water!
- See an experienced Toronto RMT, Toronto physiotherapist, Toronto chiropractor or Toronto athletic therapist for some post-workout sports therapy that might consist of: Active Release Technique (ART), Graston Technique (GT), active isolated stretching (AIIS), trigger point therapy, deep tissue therapy, myofascial release, acupuncture, sports massage, or just a plain good old fashioned (but very effective!) individualized stretching session!
Then the most important thing is to keep up your exercise, nutrition and rest routine in a balanced fashion, so you can avoid DOMS in the future.