Have you ever wondered why your muscles pain so much after your initial gym sessions ? To be more precise after a day or two when you start beginning your workout routine. This is due to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness ( DOMS ). In this blog post you are going to clearly learn everything about DOMS, Its Symptoms, Exact Causes and Its Cure. So Lets Get Started !
1. WHAT IS DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS ( DOMS ) ?
What exactly is DOMS ? This case specifically lies for the Beginners who have just started with their gym journey. DOMS can also be experienced by an individual who has resumed his / her gym sessions after a long period of time.
This is the muscle pain which you experience specifically after 24 hours to 48 hours. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is not something that you will experience immediately after your gym workout. Rather, you will feel the pain after the mentioned hours.
When you begin your workout session, due to strains there is a significant amount of microscopic muscle fiber tear beneath your muscle layers. These muscle tear results in the pain, swelling and inflammation of your muscles.
2. WHAT CAUSES DOMS ?
When you start working out ( new session ) or resume your workout after a long time ( gap of month ), your muscles goes from resting to rupture phase. This means your muscles were in complete holding phase and the underlying muscle linings were in rest state.
Once you begin working out due to strain, your muscles starts breaking down. Due to this breaking down of muscles microscopic tear occurs in your muscle fiber. This results in your muscle swelling, pain and stiffness. This process generally occurs after 24 hours of your workout session.
You don’t feel DOMS immediately because your muscles are in active phase at that time. Due to the continuous motion and activeness of your muscle at that time you don’t feel the pain immediately.
3. SYMPTOMS OF DOMS
3.1. Muscle Pain
This is the first and basic symptom of DOMS. You will be feeling great pain after first 24 hours of your workout session. This pain will remain in your body for 2 to 4 days.
3.2. Muscle Strength Loss
Due to the pain you might feel loss in your muscle strength. This is a casual symptom. You might feel little bit resistant to lift weights and lose your muscle strength for couple of days.
When your muscle fiber starts to tear down it creates a significant amount of swelling in the underlying tissues. This swelling is generally due to rupturing of your muscle fibers. It takes minimum of 72 hours for your muscle fiber to comeback to its normal state.
3.4. Stiffness in your Muscles
DOMS make your muscles stiff. The swelling occurring in your underlying muscle tissues is responsible for your muscle stiffness. Stiffness generally occurs for only those body part which was being trained by you in your previous workout session.
3.5. Decrement in range of your muscle movement
Your range of movement gets decreased for couple of days. This happens due to the underlying muscle inflammation. This can be felt specially if you have trained your arms, calves, legs or back muscles. These are the parts that requires more stretching as compared to other parts.
3.6. Tiredness / Fatigue
Due to muscle tissue rupture, body utilizes a high amount of gradual energy building it. This creates a significant loss of body energy fuel. This is the reason why you may feel fatigues or tiredness during your DOMS period.
3.7. Less Motivation
This is the foremost concern for those who are undergoing DOMS phase. This phase will only last for few days ( 3 days to 4 days ) and is part of your exercise phase. Losing your motivation and quit your goal is not at all recommended. Do not be so silly to affect your goal just for the small suffering of few mild hours !
4. IS DOMS COMMON ?
Yes, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness ( DOMS) is very common. This happens specially in new Beginners who has just started their gym routine or those who has resumed their gym workout after a long gap.
The reasons are very common and you don’t need to worry about it so much. However, you can avoid the pain with few intensities if you follow the few guidelines mentioned below. But remember, you can only reduce the pain to a certain limit but you can not avoid it completely because it is completely natural and normal process.
5. HOW TO PREVENT DOMS ?
As I have said earlier, you can only reduce the pain to a certain limit but you can not avoid it completely because it is completely natural and a normal process. You can also refer to my article “vital tips to follow after returning to gym post lockdown” to get a more vast idea. So here are the few tips you can adopt.
5.1. Lower the Weights
To avoid a severe muscle soreness you can lower your weight range. Try to minimize the weights at your initial period. Take your time and after a week you can start to increase your weights. This way your body will get sufficient time to adjust to the new environment and you will feel less onset soreness.
5.2. Proper Stretching
Do a minimum of 20 minutes active stretching. Cover stretching exercises for all your body parts before beginning your workout. Also, once you feel your muscles are heated and warmed up properly then only begin with your session. This will make your muscles more flexible and reduce the initial phase of muscle soreness pain.
5.3. Be Hydrated
Don’t let your body go in dehydrated phase. During initial time you will feel more fatigue, thirsty and tiredness.
Make sure to drink 500 ml to 700 ml of water during your whole workout session ( 60 minutes to 90 minutes). Have small sips between every sets to avoid extra tiredness.
You can also mix a amount of BCAA’S or EAA’S in your regular water during your workout sessions. This will keep you hydrated as well as promote a better muscle recovery rate.
5.4. Rest Period / Resting Time
Increase your resting period between your exercises ( + 15 seconds than usual ). If you feel fatigue and tiredness you can increase your rest duration between your sets as well ( + 10 seconds than usual ). Your body will need time to adapt. For couple of weeks keep relaxing often during your workout sessions. If you are confused about rest period you can refer to my Beginners Guide To Gym.
Give yourself time to grow again. Maintaining a strenuous routine will bring more fatigues and will make your muscles flaccid in your body.
Keeping a good amount of resting time between sets will reduce your DOMS pain to a good limit.
During you onset pain make sure to have a proper sleep cycle of 7 hours. You might be well aware of this fact that your muscles heal during your sleep cycle. Give your body proper rest. This pattern will prevent your pain to take an exponential curve.
6. HOW TO CURE DOMS ?
DOMS is not something to get highly worried about. It is a natural process and if left the injury for about 3 to 4 days the pain will automatically start vanishing. This happens because tissues starts to get heal after the sudden rupture of workout for the first time.
But you can always follow few tips and suggestions either to prevent the onset muscle soreness or cure it in a faster rate after its occurrence.
6.1. Nutrition ( Anti – Inflammatory Foods)
This is the best suggestion one can always opt to have a good amount of healthy balanced diet. Diet foods specially anti inflammatory foods like tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, omega 3 oil, olive oil, berries, nuts, turmeric and curcumin are great source to minimize the rupture pain and heal your tissues effectively.
Prevent your muscle fibers from getting dehydrated. Dehydration leads to more muscle shrinking and makes your muscles dry. This increases the pain and reduces your muscle’s elasticity. To avoid this, drink atleast 3 to 4 litres of water. Not because you are suffering from DOMS but every person on an average should consume minimum of this amount of water everyday.
6.3. Body Massage
If you are suffering from muscle soreness you can have a good body massage. A good massage will improve your muscles flexibility and increase your blood flow. This will help to reduce your muscle stiffness and pain. You can use organic olive oil or mustard oil for massaging your stiff muscle.
6.4. Cold Therapy
You can undergo cold therapy in case you need muscle relaxation. If you don’t have a bath tub or ample amount of ice cubes to have cold therapy for your whole body you can choose to use an ice pack. Using ice pack over the inflammatory body part will reduce your muscle soreness and heal the tissues fast.
6.5. Hot Bath
Many people don’t feel cold therapy a suitable option and are uncomfortable with. Not a big deal ! You can choose to have a hot water bath or steam bath. Hot shower improves your blood flow and makes your muscles more relaxed. This will help your muscles to become flaccid and relaxed for that particular time. Significantly, it will give you relaxation from the sore pain.
6.6. Analgesic / Pain Killer
This should be your least and last priority. If your pain is unbearable and out of control then you can opt for this option. Analgesics or Pain Killer Drugs contains a high amount of paracetamol and aspirin type components which may be harmful for your body. In some cases it can even cause a side reaction leading to fatal results. Hence, if pain becomes unbearable consult a doctor first and after that opt to have an analgesic under medical supervision.
I hope you got an overall picture about Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Do comment below regarding your queries, opinions and experiences. Keep working ! Stay Fit !
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