DOMS got you down?

It has been well documented in animal and human studies that any activity that places unaccustomed forces on the body can result in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This soreness begins on average 12-24 hours after the exercise has been performed and peaks 24-72 hours later. Although DOMS was previously believed to be an over accumulation of lactic acid, medical professionals have found this to be untrue.  Present research has found DOMS to be a reaction of the muscle’s repair process following strenuous exercise; which is similar to that of the events seen with acute inflammation.

DOMS can cause more than just muscle soreness. DOMS can also cause a temporary decrease in strength, tenderness to touch, joint swelling, and in turn cause a decrease of joint range of motion. Hmmm that sure sounds like acute inflammation…Although DOMS should not typically cause concern, if your pain becomes too debilitation, the limb becomes heavy or urine is dark in color you should notify your doctor immediately.


Although research suggest that a warm up does not always prevent DOMS, it is important to always begin exercise with a proper warm to prevent further injury. It is also important to give your muscles rest periods to allow for the repair process to run it’s course without complications such as muscle soreness. Drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient of rest is a sure way to prevent the negative effects of overtraining. Other signs of overtraining may be irritability, depression, decreased motivation,  loss of concentration, frequent sickness, and altered heart rates.

Now that you have DOMS- what can you do about it?

>Grab one of those foam rollers that are taking up space in the corner of your gym and begin smashing those muscles

>Sit in a cold bath – research has shown cold water immersion is clinically significant for reduction of muscle soreness however, independent of length of immersion or temperature dosage.  (Most commonly used is 10 minutes at 10C/50F)

Get a sports massage- please refer to the post from Dr. Jarod Hall, PT, DPT, CSCS regarding sports and or medical massages.



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For that pain that won’t go away, schedule an appointment with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy.


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