DOMS or Delayed onset muscle soreness is a kind of muscle pain, which starts after you have worked out. This pain usually begins a day after your workout. During a workout, athletes would not feel DOMS. Pain felt immediately or after the workout is a diverse type of soreness in muscles. This is generally referred to as acute muscle soreness. You will feel burning sensation in muscles throughout workouts due to a rapid accumulation of lactic acid. This normally vanishes shortly after or immediately once you have stopped exercising. Here, you will learn about how to recover from DOMS along with its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
- 1 Symptoms of DOMS
- 2 Causes of DOMS
- 3 Different Kinds of Muscle Soreness
- 4 Who all can suffer from DOMS?
- 5 Is DOMS an indicator of a good workout?
- 6 10 Proven Ways for DOMS Recovery
- 7 Conclusion
Symptoms of DOMS
The American College of Sports Medicine states that the symptoms of DOMS usually occur up to 24 hours subsequent to workouts. The pain peaks about 1-3 days after the workout and ease up later on. The DOMS symptoms that you could look for include:
- Muscles begin to feel tender on touch
- Lessened motion range because of stiffness and pain while moving
- Short-term muscle strength loss
- Muscle fatigue
- Swelling in muscles affected by DOMS
Causes of DOMS
High-intensity workout could cause microscopic, tiny tears in the muscle fibers. The response of your body to this muscle damage is usually the increase in inflammation, which can lead to a DOMS.
Almost every high-intensity workout could cause DOMS. However, there’s one specific type called eccentric exercise that usually triggers it. An eccentric exercise causes you to lengthen a muscle, while tense it simultaneously. For instance, the downward, controlled movement as one straightens the forearm following the biceps curl is called an eccentric motion. Also, how your quads stress up while you run downhill is also an example of eccentric movements.
Generally, DOMS occurs 6-8 hours after unaccustomed or strenuous activity, which peaks about 24 to 48 hours and lasts for about 3 to 5 days. While most people relish muscle soreness as an indicator of their rigorous work put, DOMS could affect their workouts negatively. As per reports from the American College of Sports Medicine, other DOMS symptoms are local tenderness and swelling, joint stiffness and reduced motion range, and lessened muscle strength. All of these symptoms do not have a positive impact on your competitions or training.
Different Kinds of Muscle Soreness
There are some things that set delayed onset muscle soreness from the typical muscle soreness. First, DOMS is more intense when it comes to severity. It could be debilitating and very painful in a few cases. Also, this kind of soreness in muscles lasts longer, and symptoms arise after a day or two. Acute muscle soreness arises immediately after a workout and is typically less severe. If you are confused about whether there is a link between lactic acid and DOMS, then there is none. The common misconception that a buildup of lactic acid induced from exercise that causes DOMS has been discredited.
Who all can suffer from DOMS?
DOMS could affect everyone, from beginners to elite athletes, to persons who have not worked out for some time. So, it does not matter on the level of your fitness. DOMS might strike every time you follow eccentric exercises, dial-up an intensive workout, or opt for a new type of exercise that your body is not accustomed to.
Is DOMS an indicator of a good workout?
Some persons have a mindset that unless they feel sore after their workout, they are not making fitness gains. So, this is not true. When you begin a new workout routine or push the body limits, you are likely to have soreness. However, as you work out, the body starts to adapt.
You may have less soreness with every workout, but it does not mean that you are not performing a hard workout or that you are missing out on fitness benefits from your workouts.
Keep Moving for Easing Stiff, Sore Muscles
You may be attracted to avoid all movements and exercises and to rest while DOMS strikes. However, unless it is severe, taking rest for a day might not ease it but only worsen stiffness and pain.
Listen to the body. If the DOMS is severe, you have to take a break for the whole day for giving your muscles some time for repairing. At least you need to skip all kinds of vigorous cardio and power-lifting exercises while sore. If not, that might only delay and worsen your DOMS recovery. You should go for some gentle movements during that day.
10 Proven Ways for DOMS Recovery
The most effective treatment for DOMS is time. However, you can even take some steps for easing the stiffness and pain while you let the muscles repair themselves. Research findings are quite mixed and thus, more study is required. Some findings recommend the following treatments on how to get rid of DOMS and also, self-care measures help in reducing the discomfort.
Eat Tart Cherries
According to the study published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports stated that marathoners having tart cherry juice five days on the day of, five days before, and 48 hours following their races lessened muscle soreness. The athletes showed signs of enhanced muscle recovery and function. A tart cherry is rich in color antioxidant compounds, anthocyanins, which are believed for working their magic by reducing excess inflammation.
Under the usual training conditions, great nutrition is sufficient for getting antioxidants, where they have to be. If you want an extra boost, it is best to have tart cherries or their juice into the regular diet. You can go for a couple of servings each week with your nutrient-rich diet, which is enough throughout typical training. But for people who are gearing up for a marathon, it could be effective to switch to a daily plan. If you do not like cherries, then another great source is red raspberries.
Multiple studies report that pre-workout consumption of coffee could reduce subsequent fatigue and muscle soreness. The Journal of Pain published a study that stated that this strategy helped to get a 48 percent drop in DOMS. Generally, caffeine makes everything better but it comprises analgesic or pain-killing properties. That’s why caffeine is usually contained in medications for over-the-counter pain.
You can consume two cups of coffee an hour before a specifically grueling workout. There’s another research from the 2014 PLOS ONE that states that coffee hydrates like water. This is important to bear in mind while trying to combat muscle pain. During the workouts, getting hydrated could significantly exacerbate the DOMS symptoms as per the Journal of Athletic Training.
Get a Massage
Getting a massage could help you in DOMS recovery. A 2014 research study reported that a post-exercise massage could significantly lessen pain. Over the long year, getting massages daily may increase the ability of your body to tackle off DOMS. There’s another study from 2015 that showed that massaged muscles have more blood vessels than the massage-free ones, resulting in enhanced recovery. Also, they display half of the scar tissue than that of the non-massaged muscles. So, this is not bad for the low-key time.
After your workout, you can schedule a sports massage. As per the study, immediate massage was way more effective for promoting regeneration and lessening fibrosis as compared to the delayed massage by 48 hours after exercise.
Just like massage, foam rolling is about myofascial release. This helps to relieve tension in the connective tissue of muscles. The research found that rolling out the muscles like dough could help in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness. It could also enhance performance in successive workouts.
Firstly, you have to invest in a great foam roller. Spend about 10-15 minutes with it every day. You can incorporate it as a part of your cool-down, warm-up, and on non-workout days as a part of your overall recovery.
Sleep acts as a powerful tool to prevent DOMS and to build muscles. It is even a key to lifestyle wellness. Our body produces muscle-building chemicals like Human Growth Hormone naturally in the sleep’s deep stages. So, aim for having a 7-hour sleep for helping the body to recover from workouts.
If you could not reach the deep state of sleep needed for recovery, then practice slow and deep breathing. Also, switch off any electronics an hour before you go to bed. You can also take a salt bath that helps in bringing on a high-quality, deep state sleep.
Sleep is a regenerative procedure, where the body is able to rebuild, restore, and adapt. When you follow a good sleep routine, it does not only help you with DOMS but also helps to lose long-term fat and gain muscle.
These products are designed for relieving pain. Topical analgesics based on menthol and the ones with arnica might help in easing the DOMS pain. You can topically apply these products to the sore area. Always follow the instructions on the package about how often and how much to apply.
According to some research conducted in 2016, it has been discovered that a whole-body immersion for about 10-15 minutes in a cold-water bath (10-15-degree Celsius or 50-59-Fahrenheit) can lessen the DOMS. The concept of cold baths turn out to be a popular, effective self-treatment for most competitive athletes.
If a cold-water bath sounds a bit extreme, then you can go with this one. You can go for a dip in your warm tub. A warm bath or damp heat wraps may even ease the stiffness and pain that comes along with DOMS.
Perform Recovery Workouts
In a study conducted in 2012, women performed about for 20 minutes of moderate- or low-intensity cycling immediately after their DOMS-inducing workouts. They enjoyed a drop in muscle pain along with an extra boost in strength. So, light recovery workouts enhance blood flow, which performs lots of things for naturally nudging the inflammatory procedure along, like moving immune cells, lymphatic draining, and getting rid of inflammatory mediators.
It is advisable to cool down the workouts with light cardio and scheduling recovery-focused, low-intensity workouts during the week. You need not go heavy throughout every single workout for effective results. You can also go for aerobic exercises, such as cycling, jogging, Pilates, yoga, and low-impact workouts to keep DOMS at bay.
Seek Medical Assistance
DOMS rarely needs a visit to your doctor. However, the American Council on Sports Medicine advises you to visit a nurse practitioner or doctor if the muscle pain prevents you from carrying out usual regular activities. You need to seek medical assistance if:
- urine turns out abnormally dark
- severe swelling in legs and arms
- DOMS lasts longer than a week
Muscle spasms, sharp pain, and tingling and numbness are quite diverse from dull ache resulting from the muscle soreness. Go to your doctor if you come across any symptoms like these after a workout. Watch this video to know more about how to get rid of muscle soreness.
So, these are some of the most popular treatment options available for DOMS recovery. Most of these treatment options have some particular evidence supporting their effectiveness to reduce symptoms related to muscle damage, but not to improve muscle healing. The best way for determining what actually works is to try them post-exercise and see what you admire the most.
The most effective treatment for DOMS is prevention. This could be attained by a gradual progression of intensity or volume while running. The key is to find a balance and know how much the body could handle. You can go for intense workouts once in a while, while taking proper care of yourself later. DOMS is a usual part of an athlete’s life and it feels good sometimes to embrace the body pain. Now you do not have to ask again, how to recover from DOMS? If you find this article helpful, share it with other exercise lovers. Post your queries in the comment section below if any!