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Managing Soreness

Whenever you begin exercising, or return to exercising, or try something new when exercising, you can expect soreness.

Unless you have injured yourself during a workout, most muscle soreness will occur within 3 to 36 hours after exercise.  This is what is known as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

DOMS can make moving pretty miserable, and it can make simple tasks like climbing stairs, sneezing, or going to the bathroom a bit of a chore.  However, typically if you are still you will have some relief.

Let’s explore what DOMS is, whether or not you should worry, and what to do about it.

What is DOMS?

DOMS is thought to be the result of microtrauma done to the muscles, the resulting inflammation from that trauma, and the response of the body to that inflammation.  DOMS is quite normal, and is part of the body adapting to a new stimulus- your workouts.  It is often likely to reoccur when you do a new exercise, go harder than you have previously or exert yourself in an unusual way.

When should I worry?

If you experience pain during a workout, or if the sensation is sharp, stabbing or acute, this is likely not DOMS, and you may want to consult a physician.

How to treat DOMS?

  • My favorite is Epsom salts baths. Soak in a warm tub with 1c. of salts until the water turns cool.  Rinse in the shower. Hot tubs work wonders too.
  • Ice is always a go to when treating inflammation, but might be excessive when your whole body is sore.
  • Some folks swear by glutamine, an amino acid for helping them prevent or minimize DOMS.
  • Massage is another option, just make sure that your therapist knows you are experiencing DOMS.
  • Light cardio. If DOMS has persisted for a few days, one of the best ways to diminish the soreness is to flush blood through the areas using light cardio.
  • I am not a physician and I don’t agree with popping pills for every ouchie, but NSAIDs are also an option, IF APPROVED BY YOUR PHYSICIAN.

Will I always have DOMS?

Maybe, maybe not.  Some people grow accustomed to the sensation, and it ceases to bother them.  Others always get a touch after an intense workout.  Just know that it will pass, it is not serious, and it is an indicator that you pushed yourself.