Ways to overcome muscle soreness
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Asmita Shah
What is DOMS?
If someone has just started working out, introduced a new sport or workout routine, danced like crazy at a friend’s wedding, increased the workout duration, or had an intense workout session they might experience some muscular pain.
The sensation or muscular pain is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, which can last anywhere from 12 to 48 hours after a workout.
Why Do Muscles Get Sore?
DOMS can be caused by starting a new activity, working out harder than usual, or using the muscles in a different way.
Inflammation is a body’s response to an injury. When muscles are exposed to more stress, it induces small tears in the muscle fibers causing some inflammation, which is one of the primary causes of muscle soreness. It creates immune cells as part of the healing and recovery process. These cells produce certain substances that increase the sensitivity of the nerve endings which the brain perceives as pain.
The sensation and pain caused can differ from slight stiffness to excruciating pain that can hinder day-to-day activities and restrict movements.
Side effects of DOMS
DOMS can cause pain, a loss of strength, and a decrease in functional capacity for 24-72 hours after a workout. The effects of DOMS on sports performance have not been thoroughly investigated. During periods of extreme muscular soreness, there has been a reduction in joint range of motion as well as a drop in shock absorption.
Different ways to alleviate the symptoms of DOMS
Despite extensive studies into the treatment of DOMS, no one treatment has proven to be the most effective in consistently treating DOMS. Pharmacological therapies including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), therapeutic treatments involving physical modalities such as stretching, massage, warm-up, and nutritional supplement interventions are all common strategies.
|Routinely Used Methods||Advanced Methods|
|Meditation and Deep breathing|
|Low-intensity activity (bike ride, swimming, going for a walk)|
Active light exercises
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce DOMS symptoms. In case of slight soreness, light exercise or low-intensity cardio can help alleviate the pain temporarily by increasing the blood flow. Avoid training the same muscles experiencing soreness. Slowly introduce a new exercise regime to enable your body to adjust over time. Pain does not have to be linked with progress.
It has also been used to try to alleviate DOMS. Massage treatment after rigorous exercise was found to be useful for reducing DOMS and enhancing muscular performance in a comprehensive study in 2017 comprising more than 500 participants, with the peak efficacy at 48 hours post-exercise. This might be because the strong massage increases blood flow and reduce muscle edema.
It is a traditional way to improve recovery. A 20-30 minute massage within 2 hours of a workout works well.
Form of physical exercise where a specific muscle or tendon is flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity. Results in the feeling of increased muscle control, increased blood flow, flexibility, and range of motion.
Many people recommend static stretching before or after exercise to avoid or minimize DOMS since it relieves muscular spasms. However, research that looked at the effect of stretching prior to, before, and after eccentric activity, found that stretching had no significant positive impact on DOMS.
Meditation and Deep breathing
Increase parasympathetic nervous system activity (rest, digest, recover) and
decrease sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight). A period of time devoted to meditation or mindfulness can allow the body to rest and recalibrate.
Sleep and Rest
Sleep deprivation increases the discomfort and, hence, DOMS. A good night's sleep and a rest of 7-8 hours are helpful for better recovery.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and flurbiprofen are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) that have been used to alleviate DOMS symptoms. Theories suggest that these help in combating exercise-induced inflammation and swelling but research has shown variable and contradictory findings on the efficacy of NSAIDs due to differences across studies about the type, amount, and timing of various NSAIDs, as well as potential adverse side effects such as abdominal discomfort and hypertensive implications. NSAIDs do not appear to be an effective choice for treating DOMS.
Cryotherapies, such as cold-water immersions (CWI), ice sprays, ice packs, and ice massage have been used for post-exercise intervention in a variety of sports for years to manage fatigue, and decrease pain and swelling, reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness. It is a method that is used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in musculoskeletal issues. There is no clear understanding of CWI temperatures, treatment duration, or the length of therapy that can be accepted for practice. Studies have reported CWI temperatures of 50–60 °F and treatment periods of 5–20 minutes. A lack of understanding of the physiologic consequences of cryotherapy might be one explanation for this variance. Furthermore, as cryotherapy is often used to treat an injury, studying its effects on a group of people who are injured is more appropriate.
Handheld cups are used and positioned on the skin's surface, and the skin and tissues are lifted using a suction method. It increases the blood flow and aids in the removal of waste materials from the body. It is more suitable for bigger muscle groups. It can be used over any region of the body as long as there is a seal between the skin and cup.
Muscle soreness appears to be a good thing, but this is where things get a bit complex. Mild to moderate is normal but severe muscular discomfort might be harmful. It's important to understand the difference between exercise-induced muscle soreness and pain produced by overuse or injury.
There is no definite technique to avoid DOMS.
- DOMS is a normal part of the exercise and becomes less prevalent over time.
- It all boils down to the intensity of the workout and how it's balanced out by other aspects like diet and sleep.
- Treating DOMS and recovery concerns with foam rolling, static stretching, or massage on a regular basis can be beneficial and inexpensive.
- Cheung, K., Hume, P.A. and Maxwell, L., 2003. Delayed onset muscle soreness. Sports medicine, 33 (2), pp.145-164.
- Wessel, J. and Wan, A., 1994. Effect of stretching on the intensity of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 4 (2), pp.83-87.
|Machado, A.F., Ferreira, P.H., Micheletti, J.K., de Almeida, A.C., Lemes, Í.R., Vanderlei, F.M., Netto Junior, J. and Pastre, C.M., 2016. Can water temperature and immersion time influence the effect of cold water immersion on muscle soreness? A systematic review and meta-analysis.Sports Medicine,46(4), pp.503-514.|
- Isabell, W.K., Durrant, E., Myrer, W. and Anderson, S., 1992. The effects of ice massage, ice massage with exercise, and exercise on the prevention and treatment of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Journal of Athletic Training, 27 (3), p.208.
- Connolly, D.A., Sayers, S.P. and McHugh, M.P., 2003. Treatment and prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 17 (1), pp.197-208.
- Szymanski, D.J., 2001. Recommendations for the avoidance of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 23 (4), p.7.
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