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Ever heard your PT or friends say they have 'DOMS'? What is DOMS?

What is DOMS?

DOMS, a form of exercise-related muscle pain, is an acronym for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It appears after strenuous and unusual exertion. If the activity includes an eccentric component, it is especially common. Jogging downhill, jogging a long distance, performing plyometric exercises, and rehab specific landing exercises are examples of eccentric activities where the muscles are lengthening while contracting.

What Causes DOMS?

Myofibril tears (muscle strains) are the cause of DOMS. Microtrauma causes intramuscular fluid and electrolyte changes as well as an inflammatory response. We do know that blood samples from DOMS patients contain biochemical markers that are consistent with disruption of muscle fibres, such as creatine kinase and lactic dehydrogenase. DOMS patients have decreased muscle strength, mobility, and function due to swelling, abnormal muscle firing patterns, and discomfort.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

What Are The Symptoms of DOMS?

A dull muscle aching that appears 24 to 48 hours after performing a challenging or new workout is how the typical DOMS sufferer characterises their condition. Muscle soreness and stiffness are both localised to the affected muscles. You will have an increase in symptoms from passive stretching, which is one of the causes of your stiffness. Additionally, DOMS may cause temporary loss of muscle strength, a limitation in the range of motion in the afflicted joints, and maybe edema of the affected muscle groups. The good news is that aching muscles will start to feel less painful as soon as you begin moving them. But if your quadriceps are hurting, you'll have problems going downstairs or sitting on the toilet!

How is DOMS Diagnosed?

A clinical diagnosis of DOMS is easily and commonly given by your Therapist. Sport Rehabilitation Therapist's are skilled at identifying DOMS and ruling out other, more serious injuries like muscle tears, strains, or ruptures. Under further investigation, an ultrasound scan can help identify a more significant muscle tear but is unreliable in the diagnosis of DOMS.

What is the treatment for DOMS?

  1. Active rest and anti-inflammatory treatments like ice should be used to treat DOMS at first. (Bleakley et al. 2012).

  2. Studies on the pain-relieving effects of heat treatment for back muscles with DOMS has been associated with pain reduction. (Mayer et al. 2006).

  3. NSAIDs may reduce pain, however prolonged usage in DOMS might hinder satellite cell repair. (Schoenfeld et al. 2012).

  4. Studies have indicated that using pressure garments and gentle massage can lessen the length and intensity of DOMS. However, the first 24 hours should not include deep tissue massage. Additionally, avoid overly straining your muscles in the early stages. (Valle et al. 2014, Hill et al. 2013, Nelson N. 2014.)

  5. During the healing phase, avoid vigorous exertion. Your muscles' decreased ability to absorb shock, lack of coordination, changed muscle recruitment patterns, decreased strength balance, and decreased contraction intensity are the causes of this avoidance. Cycling can temporarily reduce DOMS pain. (Zainuddin et al. 2005)

What is DOMS

How can you prevent DOMS?

Reduce DOMS by implementing these recommendations:

  • Rome wasn't built in a day, so go slowly and gradually increase the quantity of activity you undertake in your programme.

  • You should never raise your weights, sets, or reps by more than 10% per week.

  • Pay attention to how much eccentric activity you incorporate into your training.

  • Make sure you thoroughly cool down after your workout. One reason for this is that many of us have witnessed athletes performing cool-down exercises like slow jogging after competitions.

  • Eccentric quadriceps training should be a part of the training regimen for long-distance runners.

DOMS Recovery Time

The good news is that the majority of DOMS symptoms progressively go away and don't leave any residual problems. The majority of DOMS instances get better in one to three days. However, it is best to consult a Rehabilitation Therapist for assistance if any of the following apply to you:

  • More than 48 hours after the workout, the discomfort is still there and has not subsided.

  • The discomfort started more abruptly and during the exercise rather than the day following. Not just the muscles are affected; the pain is also felt in and around the joints.

  • The joints and the area around them are swollen and uncomfortable.


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