Delayed onset muscle soreness is often referred to as DOMS. The dreaded DOMS is the pain caused after training due to muscle tissue damage. It primarily results from eccentric muscle activity causing damage to the muscle tissues. A certain amount of muscle tissue damage is a normal response to resistance training and plays a role in the body’s way of adapting to training. Other than some pain and discomfort there are not normally any negative consequences associated with DOMS. The pain will usually go away from 3 to 7 days with no special treatments. DOMS is a very common experience for everyone from elite athletes to novice exercisers alike. Symptoms can range from slight muscle tenderness to muscle stiffness, loss of strength and swelling, and can be debilitating. It is also quite common when returning to exercise after a prolonged time away.
How do I treat DOMS ?
If you suffer from DOMS you can reduce how badly you suffer by warming up and cooling down properly. You can also start to add a stretching programme to your training. Doing a proper cool down such as some gentle aerobic exercise can stimulate blood flow through the muscles which reduces the DOMS.
You could also consider the use of massage which again will reduce the pain caused by DOMS. Athletes and sports people regularly take ice baths to reduce the pain caused by DOMS. Although time off from the gym and a full-body massage might seem appealing, heading back to the gym could be the best thing in coping with DOMS. Repeated exposure to the same exercise stimulus will lessen the DOMS. Though you might feel the pain for a few days after doing an intense, unfamiliar muscular exercise, if you did the same exercise session a week later the DOMS would be less.
If you’re in a lot of pain, an anti-inflammatory drug, can be effective in relieving symptoms. Although this may alleviate muscle soreness, but it won’t help with muscle recovery – in other words, even though the pain might decrease, your muscles still won’t be functioning as well for a few days after performing the intense exercises.
What supplements can help with DOMS?
- Protein shakes – protein helps with muscle recovery
- Creatine – helps to keep the muscle hydrated
- Glutamine – can help reduce muscle soreness and repairing muscles quicker
- BCAA – BCAAs such as iBCAA result in better protein synthesis and play a vital role in reducing the amount of secondary muscle damage that often accompanies strenuous resistance