DOMS is something that many of us will have had at some point, but many aren’t quite sure what it is or why. That dreadful ache or muscle soreness after your workout; it’s hard to miss and even harder to forget. It stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, and it happens when your muscles have been under stress. That can be from workouts or even work and daily life.
Let’s start with a bit of good news first of all. DOMS is actually a good sign for the most part. When you exercise with all your effort or even when you try something new, getting DOMS, even just a little muscle soreness after your workout, means you’re doing good things. It means you’re hitting your body with a lot of effort, all to make positive changes.
Let’s dig deeper.
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How DOMS Happens
No matter what exercise you do, it’s something that happens easily. as you exert yourself in any exercise or movement enough, you’ll use muscles in new ways or overload them differently. As a result, muscles create micro-tears as part of the strengthening and conditioning process. This tearing and recovering are what DOMS is caused by.
Your muscles swell and inflame to try and heal you in the best way possible, but the aching can last for days, depending on how hard you’re hitting the muscles and how often. Luckily as you get used to training, the pain becomes less and less significant, so don’t let it put you off.
How to Treat & Prevent DOMS
All this information doesn’t mean you’re just stuck with muscle soreness from every workout. Instead, there’s a multitude of things you can do to help reduce your pain from DOMs. So whether you’re trying to prevent it in the first place or take the edge off, we have just the thing.
Athletes in all forms of sport tend to swear by ice baths. The cold temperate helps your body to reduce the inflammation around your muscles which is why the DOMS is causing you so much pain. This is possibly the quickest fix, but ice baths are not for everyone!
Massages are another great way to help you reduce DOMs symptoms. It helps your body to recover in the right ways and reduce things like lactic acid build-up and scar tissue, allowing you to rebuild your muscles in the most effective way possible. Foam rolling is likely the best way to do this because of its tried and tested results, but you’ll find your own preferences!
As we said above, preventing DOMS isn’t out of the question either. Make sure that you are adequately warmed up and exercising within your means in the first place to make sure you don’t do more damage than is healthy. You also need to make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to heal between workouts to prevent even more tearing and more pain.
DOMS is not a fun thing to get, but it does usually mean good things; your work is paying off, and you’re making progress, so keep it up. Our advice to you would be to eat well, rest well and train well, and DOMS will become less and less apparent in your training. It is worth thinking about when you’re going to be training, too, though; not being able to walk well can really ruin a weekend. (Just a note).
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.