Whether you’re a person who likes to work out a few times a week or every day, there is a chance that you’ve experienced muscle soreness afterwards. We all do, and it happens no matter how accustomed you are to your routine.
Believe it or not, there is a name for this pain, and it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS for short). This condition is something that happens to everyone after exercise and is very common.
But it’s always good to understand more about your body. So, learn about what causes it, why it happens, and what you can do to treat it or prevent it from getting to an unhealthy level!
What is DOMS and What Causes it?
Delayed onset muscle soreness is the result of microtears in our muscles, usually most apparent after doing an ‘eccentric exercise’. This can be landing drills, long distance running, etc. However, it appears after most types of medium or high intensity exercise.
Due to microtears, there is a rapid buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, and this causes the burning sensation DOMS is known for. Unfortunately, the lactic acid and microtears tend to linger for around 24 to 72 hours after exercising.
Most types of exercise cause this type of microscopic damage to our muscles. In fact, it is through these tiny tears in our muscles that our bodies are encouraged to build more muscle. In time, this results in a more toned and muscular physique.
What does DOMS feel like?
DOMS is known to cause pain and soreness, and it’s usually characterised by:
- Tender muscles
- Reduced range of motion
- Temporarily reduces muscle strength
- Muscle and joint stiffness
How Does DOMS Affect Exercise?
DOMS can affect how we exercise because it can be hard to get through a whole exercise routine when you feel sore and stiff. Some experts say it’s best to let the body heal for up to 48 or 72 hours before going back to a high-intensity workout.
So let’s say you do a high-intensity strength training session today. You’re most likely to feel soreness and fatigue in your muscles, right? Well, if you were to go back tomorrow and do the same routine again, you’d probably have a much harder time.
The same goes for running, dancing, HIIT, and many other exercises. If you do an intense session one day, it’s best to give your body some time to heal and start feeling better before you go back.
Plus, with the common temporary reduction in muscle strength, it’s not very safe to jump right back in. You need to give your body a rest, regain your strength and range of motion, and then hit the gym.
How Can You Prevent Pain After Exercise?
There are many different ways to arm your body against DOMS, and these are some of the easiest ways to do it:
- Complete a cool off exercise after your workouts.
- Shake it up, and try doing a low-impact exercise such as swimming every week.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Slowly increase your workout intensity.
- Stretch before and after workouts.
- Always warm up before your exercise session.
- Take your time to develop the proper form for your exercises – it’s safer and less painful.
How Can You Treat Pain After Exercise?
Treating DOMS can help you recover more quickly, but DOMS usually takes care of itself in time as long as you remember to rest. Here are some simple treatments for pain after exercise:
- Rest and give yourself time to recover properly.
- Apply ice packs to the affected muscles and joints or try our CBD Joint Balm. Ice baths are also good.
- Apply heat to the affected areas. A warm bath is a great way to do this.
- Incorporate protein and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.
- Take an anti-inflammatory if you feel like you need to.
- Use muscle rubs with natural ingredients designed for DOMS.
DOMS is something everyone who exercises knows well. Whether you just began your fitness journey or you’re a fitness pro, you’re most likely going to experience DOMS.
It gets better in a matter of days, and the soreness won’t get as bad as your body grows more accustomed to the exercise load. It shouldn’t cause you to stop doing exercise, and it definitely shouldn’t be a long-term issue. If you feel like using an added product, a CBD muscle rub could aid toward recovery too.
However, if you feel more persistent pain than usual, it’s probably best to visit your local physiotherapist to make sure there’s nothing serious going on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!