What You Can Do About Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

What You Can Do About Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

If you’re workout regularly whether at home or in gyms like Club Fitness, you may have come across delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This pertains to pain in the muscle that occurs after your workout session. Usually, it’ll occur a day or two after a hard workout.

The American College of Sports Medicine states that the symptoms of DOMS often occur between 12 – 24 hours after you ended your exercise and then peaks 1-3 days.

DOMS Common Symptoms:

  • Reduced range of motion
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Fatigue in muscle
  • Swelling
  • Short-term loss of strength in the affected muscles

DOMS Causes

The best way you can prevent DOMS is to know what causes it, then avoid it if you can. Basically, when you engage in high intensity exercise, it results in tiny tears in the muscle fibers. The damage triggers an inflammatory response from your body, which in turn causes the delayed onset of muscle soreness.

Any high intensity workout could lead to DOMS, but one exercise in particular has been found to be the most common culprit: eccentric exercise.

Eccentric exercise is a kind of movement that causes tension in the muscle as you lengthen it.


  • When you straighten your forearm in a controlled downward direction
  • When the quads tense up as you run downhill

DOMS can affect anyone at any time. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, you could get this kind of muscle soreness when your workouts are pretty intense, or if you try an exercise for the first time.

What You Can Do

If you are experiencing DOMS, here are some things you can do:

First, you need to keep moving. The common response is to avoid all exercise when a person has DOS but doing so may only worsen the stiffness and pain. Unless the pain is very severe, I would recommend doing some stretches and light exercise to keep your blood circulation going.

Get a massage or massage the affected muscles. Studies show that people who receive massages after a hard workout tend to have significantly less muscle soreness than those who didn’t. Even self-massage can help especially in these areas:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Thighs
  • Calves

If available, use a foam roller after your workouts.

Soak in the tub for a cold or warm bath. One review found that a 10 minute full body immersion in water with temperatures of 50-59F has been found to lower the severity of DOMS. If you don’t like cold baths, soak your body in a warm tub of water instead as this can help ease any stiffness.

Take OTC pain relievers. If none of the above helps, you can always take NSAIDS like Advil which should help relieve the pains and aches in a few hours. There are also what’s known as anti-inflammatory food or supplements to help hasten muscle recovery.

If the pain or soreness does not go away after several days, you might want to get yourself checked by a medical practitioner to determine the cause and proper treatment.

Learn more about how to overcome DOMS in this guide:

How to overcome delayed onset muscle soreness

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