DOMs (delayed onset muscular soreness) is the term used to describe the stiffness and pain felt by the muscles 24 to 72 hours following an intense or unusual exercise. This is a normal and natural response to an unaccustomed activity and does not indicate injury.

This condition is caused by microtears of the muscle fibers and inflammation that occurs after intense or unfamiliar exercise. Your muscles may experience minor damage during exercise, particularly when you are performing eccentric contractions. This damage triggers an inflammatory reaction in the body, which leads to the symptoms associated with DOMs. Exercises that can trigger this reaction include downhill running and weightlifting.

DOMs are also caused by the accumulation of metabolic products in muscles, such as lactic acids. This buildup occurs in muscles when the oxygen supply is inadequate to meet the energy requirements of the muscle. This burning sensation is caused by lactic acid. It can make DOMs more uncomfortable and sore.

The frequency of DOMs depends on a number of factors, such as the type of exercise, the intensity, the duration, the frequency, your fitness level, and recovery strategies. If you are new to a particular kind of exercise or haven’t exercised for a long time, it is more likely that you will experience DOMs in the first few sessions. You may notice that DOMs decrease or disappear as your body adapts to the exercise. DOMs may occur if you increase the intensity, duration, or frequency of the exercise routine.

Some strategies can be used to help alleviate symptoms and speed the recovery of DOMs.

 Rest and Recovery  

Even though you might want to push yourself at the gym or with your exercise, it can be beneficial to give your body time to recover. Resting will allow your body to repair the small tears in your muscle fibers and rebuild them to reduce inflammation and the feelings of DOMs. Resting allows the body to be more efficient in performing the exercise.

 Gentle movement  

On recovery days, taking a break from high-intensity exercise can promote blood flow, healing, and relaxation. This can reduce the effects of DOMs on your muscles.

Stretching and foam roller

Stretching and foam rolling can help reduce muscle tension by increasing the blood flow in the affected area. Increased blood flow means that oxygen and nutrients will circulate in the region, which can help reduce inflammation. Foam rolling can break up scar tissue that has been formed after exercise by applying pressure to the muscles.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is similar to foam rolling and stretching in that it adds pressure to the muscles to release tension and increase blood flow to reduce symptoms of DOMs.

Pain medication available over the counter

Panadol, an over-the-counter medication that can reduce pain caused by DOMs, should only be taken after consulting your doctor. It is recommended that if the pain can be tolerated, you try other recovery methods.

World Fitness offers products that will enhance your recovery. These can be found on our website. Here is a link to the article Listen to your body, and adapt your workout and recovery strategy accordingly to reduce your risk of injury and maximize the benefits of exercising.

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