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DOMS – which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – is the stiffness you feel a number of hours or days after you’ve trained. You’ll fee this if you’ve introduced a new element into your workout routine. Commonly mistaken as lactic acid build-up, DOMS can affect anyone who performs some sort of exercise, no matter how fit you are or for how many years you’ve been training. Much research has been done into how DOMS symptoms can be alleviated but, unfortunately, a universal ‘cure’ hasn’t been found as of yet.
When Is DOMS Most Likely To Strike?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness usually occurs after you’ve performed a physical activity that causes your muscles to lengthen (eccentric contraction). As a result, microscopic damage to these muscles occurs. (An example of such activities is cardiovascular training.) What we recognise as the pain associated with ‘DOMS’ is when these muscles are repairing themselves. Some people associate delayed onset muscle soreness with lactic acid build-up, however this isn’t involved in the process.
Are there other symptoms related to DOMS?
Besides stiffness and soreness, sufferers of delayed onset muscle soreness have reported having:
- Swelling of limbs that were involved in the exercise,
- Joint stiffness as well as a temporary reduction in the range of movement of the joint, and
- A temporary reduction of strength in the muscles that were involved in the exercise.
How can you prevent DOMS happening to you?
In an article entitled Why Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is a Good Thing on the Runner’s World magazine website, Mackenzie Lobby says that methods such as massage, microtherapy, icing, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, fish oil and i.Tonic have all been shown to help reduce the painful symptoms of DOMS.
The best method of preventing DOMS is to start any new physical training programme slowly. This is so that your muscles get used to performing the particular activity. Being properly warmed up also ensures that you stay clear of DOMS. In her article, Lobby quotes Dr David J Szymanski, assistant professor and the director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory at Louisiana Tech University
“If you already have the muscle warmed up and prepared, it is better able to handle the activity.”
So if you’re suffering from DOMS after having started up a new exercise programme, don’t give up because of the pain. The first time you experience DOMS symptoms is the worst. From then on, you’ll feel less and less pain because you’re getting stronger and your stamina is increasing!
How to deal with sports-related injuries
As an athlete or avid gym goer, you may suffer from an injury at one point in your life. If this happens, don’t stress! Remember that you’ll do more harm to yourself if you exercise when you’re injured than if you take a couple of days off and recover.
If you do find yourself suffering from an injury, don’t despair! There are a number of ways that you can help your body recover from this. These methods include accupuncture, reflexology and massage. However, the best – and most well-known – way of helping your muscles recover from an injury is:
- Rest: If you injure a soft tissue in your body, the first thing is that you need to rest it.
- Ice: The next thing is that you need to ice the injured part of your body.
- Compression: After you’ve iced it, you’ll need to wrap it up tightly so that you compress it.
- Elevation: After everything, you’ll need to keep all pressure off the injury by elevating it.
Say medical experts:
“As soon as possible after an injury, such as a knee or ankle sprain, you can relieve pain and swelling and promote healing and flexibility…
“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also help relieve your pain and swelling. They include:
• Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin.
• Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn.
“Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.”
When your soreness and pain are gone, begin stretching and strengthening exercises slowly, then gradually increase these exercises.
Watch this video for more information about R.I.C.E.
At Trifocus Fitness Academy, during our Personal Training Certification , we teach personal trainers how to ensure that their clients avoid getting DOMS. In addition, we provide comprehensive traning about how to develop training regimes for your personal training clients, how to take care of fitness equipment in a fitness facility, the biomechanics of the human body and so much more!
To find out more, click here.