Since that is what is happening to me lately, and I want you all to be better than I am, here are the facts. The symptoms include muscle tenderness, soreness, weakness, and even swelling. It usually sets in a day or two after a particularly strenuous workout. It happens to everybody, from weekend warriors to hard-core athletes. Some dread it; others love the feeling for days as proof that they’re making progress. But science still hasn’t been able to nail down the precise cause of DOMS.
There are some theories out there. You may have heard rumblings of some of them.
One is that lactic acid is to blame. Lactic acid causes the “burn” during your workout. However, this is not what causes muscle soreness. The intense lactic “burn” feels nothing like DOMS, which is a duller type of pain AND lactic acid concentrations return to pre-workout levels within an hour of exercise, while DOMS occurs days later.
Another popular notion is that DOMS occurs because intense exercise breaks down your muscle fibers: you tear the muscle fibers apart with resistance training and they respond by coming back stronger than ever. The pain, then, comes with breaking down and rebuilding muscle fibers. Either that or it’s inflammation. Or it’s increased pressure on your nerves as a result of expanding muscle. There are a ton of possibilities thrown out there, and they all sound vaguely plausible, but the science is still murky. Whatever the cause, we do know that it can’t be neatly explained by a single factor. Some folks say “it just is. (www.Marksdailyapple.com)
That said, there are some things to do and some things that might make you feel better when you can’t sit on the toilet from the massive amount of squats you did the day before.
Stretch – You knew I would say this as I’m such a huge fan. Even though the research doesn’t actually support this to help DOMS, it usually just feels better.
Anti-Inflammatories – Try ibuprofen or a chemical equivalent. I typically try to do it on my own and not depend on these but some swear by it.
Exercise – This has been my friend – I’ve been on the elliptical, walking the dogs, spinning and swimming laps. I believe you gotta keep those muscles moving to feel better! Warming up before your workout is always a good idea. Afterward, beset by DOMS, light exercise can “train” your body to work through the pain. Don’t work through any particularly severe DOMS, but it’s safe to get back on the wagon on the tail end of the soreness. Eventually, you should stop getting it altogether.
Remember – DOMS is different from a pulled or torn muscle, or a strained joint. It can be a step in the adaptive process. Not everyone gets it, but if you do you can rest assured you’re doing something right. I know that when I take time off or do something completely different or making a substantial increase in weight or intensity I can get the nagging DOMS. It’s