DOMS: Symptoms & Tips for a Fast Recovery
DOMS, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, happens when you work muscles in a new and challenging way. That delayed response in soreness means that your body is working overtime to repair deeply damaged tissue and is no cause for alarm.
It doesn’t always happen the day after a hard workout. You may wake up the following morning feeling perfectly fine, but your muscles may feel so sore you struggle even to tie your shoelaces on day two!
DOMS may feel like your body is in decay, but it’s quite the opposite. Muscle pain is a sign that you worked your muscles differently, resulting in tiny tears in tissue and muscle fibers.
With proper rest and care, your muscles will repair stronger than before!
What Causes DOMS
DOMS happens when you work muscles in a new and challenging way. If you always go for a light 30-minute jog around the same stretch of sidewalk, your muscles won’t be sore the following day because you didn’t challenge them.
However, if you add an extra mile to your jog, opt for a faster time, or add stair sprints to your hard run, you are activating new muscle groups that will require more time to heal.
Your body is a fine-tuned machine, and it knows exactly what it’s doing. That delayed response in soreness means that your body is working overtime to repair deeply damaged tissue and is no cause for alarm.
Your muscles will be stronger and ready to tackle the next challenge in 3-5 days with proper rest and nutrition.
What Are The Symptoms Of DOMS?
DOMS might feel like something is wrong with your body, but it’s all perfectly normal.
Some of the most common symptoms of DOMS include:
- Muscle tissue sensitive to the touch
- Decreased range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of strength
- Slight swelling
DOMS symptoms are annoying but harmless. More often than not, you need to ride out the storm.
Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to cope with soreness and expedite your healing!
DOMS is perfectly normal and a sign that your body is growing stronger, but it doesn’t mean that you can get back to your intense training right away.
When your muscles are sore, they are at their most vulnerable, which increases the chances of a sidelining injury or muscle damage.
Even though you may feel like you can push through the pain doesn’t mean that you should.
Check out these tips to expedite downtime and ease the pain.
1. Keep Exercise Light
If you are training for a marathon, hanging out on the couch is the last thing you want to do. Keeping active is a great way to stretch those affected muscles and can even help reduce pain.
When working out on sore muscles, keep things light and easy. Go for a leisurely jog around the neighborhood, do a little yoga, or go for a brisk hike.
2. Always Incorporate A Good Warmup And Cooldown
Your muscles are sore and sensitive. It’s a good idea to give them time to warm up and cool down if you are keeping active.
Reserve at least 5 minutes to warm up those muscles, which can be anything from marching in place, jumping jacks, or walking. The same can be said for your post-exercise cooldown.
3. Treat Pain with Ibuprofen
Muscles become sore because the tissue is inflamed. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen help ease the pain from DOMS, but they won’t expedite the healing process.
4. Try A Foam Roller or Massage Gun
Massaging your muscles can help flush out toxins and ease the pain. If you can’t schedule an appointment for a massage, foam rolling is a great way to soothe sore muscles.
5. Take A Hot Bath
Hot water helps dilate blood vessels that will boost blood flow and help tired muscles relax.
For added relief, toss in a few handfuls of magnesium bath salts to reduce swelling and help you sleep!
When To See A Doctor
How can you tell the difference between DOMS and more severe running injuries?
The symptoms of DOMS typically peak around 24-72 hours and gradually gets better from there. Symptoms are annoying (to say the least) but perfectly manageable.
If you notice that your symptoms aren’t improving after seven days or are accompanied by sharp pain, intense swelling, or numbness, it may be time to call the doctor.
If you are training hard, DOMS is just another obstacle to overcome. It’s completely normal and a sign that your hard work is paying off!
Sore muscles mean that you worked your body in new and challenging ways and will grow back even stronger.
The only way to avoid DOMS is to ensure that you gradually increase your training intensity. Also, ensure you incorporate a good warm-up into your training plan before setting out for a challenging workout.
It won’t eliminate the possibility of muscle soreness, but it will reduce the severity of your symptoms.
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