Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a condition that causes muscular pain, soreness and stiffness following certain exercise. The condition is normally associated with the commencement of a new exercise programme, a change in exercise routine and an increase of intensity level or training session duration. Symptoms normally develop between 24 and 48 hours following the training session but normally subside as the muscles adapt and strengthen during the first few weeks – terms known as muscular hypertrophy and adaptability.
DOMS may become a shock to some people following the onset of the problem. However, on most occasions this is a normal response to a new exercise routine or progression. The symptoms that develop are a normal occurrence that takes place as part of the progression and adaptation elements of fitness that lead to greater muscular strength and endurance within the working muscle groups.
The condition is normally an effect of microscopic tearing of the muscle fibres within each targeted muscle group. The amount of tearing and resultant symptoms normally depends on the level of exercise intensity, duration change and the type of exercise that has taken place. The most common type of exercise that can lead to the onset of the problem is eccentric muscle loading which involves movements that cause the muscles to forcefully contract whilst lengthening. Eccentric muscular contractions take place in exercise such as plyometric training. Such activities may include repetitive squats, jumps, burpees, star-jumps and specific press-ups. Other forms of exercise that can be prone to DOMS include fell/downhill running, skiing, cycling, rowing and weightlifting.
Along with muscular discomfort, the micro-muscle tears that take place in DOMS may also be associated with swelling within a muscle which may contribute to the soreness.
Management & Tips under the instruction of a skilled physiotherapist or other clinician knowledgeable in the exercise field:
- Rest as instructed
- Ice or heat therapy
- Gentle stretching of the affected muscle groups
- Sports & therapeutic massage – See our ‘G4 Massage Services’ for further information
- Active exercise involving light cardio-vascular exercise at the correct interval
- Diet & nutrition
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medication as required and advised by a doctor
- Adequate warm-up & cool-down routines within the training sessions
- Controlled exercise overload & progression
- STOP and seek the knowledge of a physiotherapist if the discomfort fails to recover as there may be a possibility of an injury.
Please feel free to contact the G4 Clinic to speak to a member of the team for any questions that you may have.