DOMS (Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)


Last Updated July 15th, 2020

What is DOMS?

DOMS refers to the Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness. It leads to muscle pain after 12 to 24 hours of a workout session. The pain related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) can stay for 2 to 3 days depending on the severity. The pain of DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) peaks up after 2 to 3 days of workout and then it gradually eases up with time. In a nutshell DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) is a muscle pain which can occur only after a persistent and unaccustomed exercise. 

What causes DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

The microtrauma experienced in the muscle fibres of an individual after a long session of workout is one of the most common reasons for DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness). The microtears and the microtraumas in the muscle fibres resulting in several inflammatory responses with the intramuscular fluids and electrolyte shifts. Eccentric exercises often result in DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) since it tenses your muscles and at the same time lengthens it too. 

What are the symptoms of DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

There are a few common symptoms of DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) listed below.

  • Tenderness of muscles
  • Stiffness of muscles and the motion range is reduced due to the stiffness
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weakness and tiredness 
  • Swelling of the affected muscles
  • Short term loss of the strength of the muscles 
  • Dizziness and nauseatic feeling are also rare symptoms which might happen in some individuals 

When do I need to consult a doctor?

DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) results in the muscle pain which wears away within 1 to 3 days. In that case, there’s no need for consulting a doctor. But there might be certain cases where you have to have to consult a doctor. Some of the most common conditions under which you might have to consult a doctor are the following.

  • If your pain is not going for more than 48 to 72 hours after exercise, the persisting pain might be indicative of DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)
  • In the case of the pain related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) comes  back more sudden after the day of the workout, it is always recommended to consult a doctor
  • If you experience pain around the joint area and not only in the muscles, it’s always suggested to consult a doctor.
  • You should consider consulting a doctor if you are experiencing swelling and discomfort around the joints. 
  • Make sure you consult a doctor if you are passing dark urine while excreting

How to diagnose DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) can be diagnosed through a blood test. The blood test is done by the procedure of venipuncture. The blood test helps in detecting various biochemical markers such as creatine kinase and lactic dehydrogenase which are generally found in the blood of the people who are suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness).

Is it recommended to rest when you are suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

It is a normal tendency to feel like resting and relaxing after all the pains that you might have experienced after a strenuous exercise. But it is highly recommended that if you do not have severe pain due to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) you shouldn’t rest completely and stop your regular movement. Prolonged resting while suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) can result in worsening the pain and stiffness.

You can exercise some gentle movement and throughout the day rather than doing any high-intensity cardio or powerlifting. The exercises which you can generally try performing when you are suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) are some light yoga and low to moderate intensity regular exercises like walking, cycling as well as swimming.

How to treat DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

There are several ways of treating DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness). Some of the most common ways are as follows:

Massage 

Massage is one of the best ways of treating DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness). After a strenuous workout, your muscles get stiffened. A good massage can always help you relax your muscles and helps in reducing the pain related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness). You can self-massage some muscles in your body such as the calves, thighs, buttocks, arms, shoulder. 

Usage of Topical Analgesics 

Topical analgesics are very good pain relievers. You can apply these in the areas of the soreness. Topical analgesics with arnica content is very helpful for easing the pain related to DOMS(Delayed Onset f the Muscle Soreness). Before applying Topical analgesics, make sure you are reading the instructions written on the packaged paper.

Cold baths 

Cold baths are very effective in treating the pains related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscles Soreness). Taking cold baths by immersing the whole body in the water of temperature ranging from 10-15 degree centigrade, can be very helpful in relaxing your muscles and treat all the muscle tears and muscle fatigues.

Warm bath

Besides the cold bath, warm bath is also a way of treating DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) since warm water is also very effective in relieving the pain and easing the stiffness. 

Consumption of anti-inflammatory food

An individual suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) is always suggested to eat food which has anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the common anti-inflammatory foods which are recommended are tomatoes, olive oils, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and nuts like almonds, walnuts. Fruits such as strawberries, cherries oranges and fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines are also recommended since they have high anti-inflammatory properties.

How to prevent DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

DOMS can be prevented by adopting various methods. Some of the most common ways of preventing DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) are as follows.

Staying Hydrated : It is always recommended to stay hydrated if you are performing strenuous exercises. In the  cas of hot and humid weather, it is very important to stay hydrated. Lack of hydration can lead to pains related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) and make you feel more tired and fatigued after a shorter while.  

Warming up: It is very necessary to warm up for 5 – 10 minutes before you start performing your exercises. Warming up makes your body flexible for performing various exercises after that. You should always practise dynamic stretching while warming up.
 
Cooldown: After a strenuous workout, it is very necessary to cool down for 15-20 minutes. You should try performing some low-intensity exercises such as static stretching or low-intensity cycling can also be very effective for cooling down. At times it might not lessen the pain related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscles Soreness) but it is definitely helpful for increasing the flexibility of your joints and muscles. 

Increase the intensity slowly: It is highly recommended to increase your intensity of workout very slowly. Going slow and gradually increasing the intensity can be very effective for building strength as well as endurance. This is a long term way of preventing any pains related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscles Soreness).

What are the kind of foods that should be eaten post-workout to prevent DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness)?

The foods which are recommended to be eaten post-workout to get effective results as well as to prevent any pains related to DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) are as follows.

Chia seed pudding 
Chocolate  milk
Avocado 
Oatmeal 
Eggs 
Coconut oil 
Quinoa 
Cottage cheese 
Flax seeds 
Fruits such as berries, apples, bananas)
Greek yoghurt 
Nut butter 
Rice cakes 
Turkey or chicken 
Nuts 
Crackers 
Salmon and tuna 
Sweet potato 
Peanut butter 
Whole-grain bread 
Protein shake 
Whole-grain cereal 
Scrambles tofu 
 

What are the foods to be avoided during suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscles Soreness)?

Any kind of anti-inflammatory foods is always recommended to be consumed when an individual is suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness). Some of the most common anti-inflammatory foods which are recommended to be prevented during suffering from DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscles Soreness) are as follows:
Processed foods such as processed meats 
Drinks which have sugar content 
Trans fats which are found in fried foods should be avoided
White bread 
Gluten
Soyabean oil or any other vegetable oil
Processed and packaged foods and snacks such as chips or crackers, etc
Sugary desserts such as cookies, custards, ice creams, etc
Excessive alcohol should be completely avoided 

Does DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) indicate a “Good Workout”?

It is always recommended to start your workout slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercises. This helps in improving physical strength and endurance as well. As you increase your intensity of workout gradually, your body adapts to it and your muscles won’t experience tears or injuries. DOMS(Delayed Onset of the Muscle Soreness) is not at all a sign of a good workout since a good workout doesn’t give your muscles the microtraumas r microtears which result in excruciating pain.

 

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