What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a type of muscle pain that occurs hours (typically 12 to 48 hours) after physical exercise. It is characterized by intense pain accompanied by stiffness of the muscles due to eccentric exercises such as hopping, bounding, squatting and lifting weights. The discomfort would go down 3 days after you worked out. If not, it is important to see a doctor or a sports injury specialist.
What Are The Causes?
The main cause of the DOMS is microscopic tears in the muscles that occur when the body moves harder than it normally does. It shouldn't be a cause for much worry since muscle tearing is actually part and parcel of growth in muscle size and strength. You should only be concerned of excessive tearing, which can happen if you progress too quickly in your training. This is why it is essential to start your training very lightly so your muscles won't get shocked at what you're doing.
How Is DOMS Treated?
First, you have to give your muscles ample time to heal. Don't go back to your fitness program until the symptoms of DOMS have subsided. Wait at least a week before resuming. Of course, you don't have to stop moving altogether. You can still do light stretching and mild aerobic exercises to improve blood flow and ease the condition. You can also go swimming or do brisk walking to ease the pains in the muscles. Hydrotherapy and spa baths can also help in alleviating the symptoms.
Can DOMS be prevented?
Yes, it can be. Warm up with stretching and light exercises before you proceed to your actual workout. Cooling down post exercise is just as important. When starting with a new fitness program, progress slowly to allow your body to get accustomed to the training. The rule of the thumb is that you cannot increase the intensity and duration of your training by more than 10 percent in a week.
Exercise is essential for good health. It is a must that you find time within your busy schedule to work out. This would not only make you feel good and energized but also make you less susceptible to health problems.