DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

Why Does Muscle Pain Start the Day After Exercise? 

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is defined as gradually increasing muscle soreness experienced 24 to 48 hours after exercise. It results from muscles undergoing more stress than they are accustomed to. DOMS occurs in sedentary people after light exercise, such as a long walk or short jog. Regularly active people experience DOMS when they increase their activity level. For example, a runner accustomed to jogging five miles may experience DOMS after increasing to six miles. A change in the way muscles are used also causes delayed onset muscle soreness. An individual who regularly lifts weights may nonetheless experience DOMS in the shoulders and legs on a backpacking trip because carrying the pack uses the muscles in a slightly different way. 

How Long Does Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Last? 

DOMS usually begins 8 to 12 hours after the activity that causes it. It increases for 24 to 48 hours, peaking around 72 hours after the activity. It then slowly subsides. 
The severity of DOMS and the length of DOMS recovery varies by the individual and the amount of stress placed on the muscles. DOMS from a minor activity increase or change may subside quickly, while the DOMS experienced after running a marathon can last for weeks. 

How Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Treated? 

DOMS treatment consists of several remedies, ranging from topical applications, oral medications, massage, and heat therapy. These approaches reduce pain and soreness while increasing flexibility. A natural pain reliever such as Super Blue Stuff OTC, Super White Stuff OTC, or Foot and Leg Comfort from Emu Therapy can go a long way toward reducing the pain of DOMS and helping the body recover from the effects of strenuous exercise.

DOMS treatments include: 

Nutritional Supplements

Studies show that exercise which causes DOMS increases the production of free radicals due to inflammation. Supplements that include Vitamins E and C reduce free- radical production and hence DOMS symptoms.  

Warm-up Before Intense Exercise 

Warm-ups are for all exercisers, not just Olympic sprinters. They have proven effective for preventing or reducing the severity of DOMS. Warmups increase flexibility and resistance to muscle tearing. They also promote smoother muscle contractions, motor-unit recruitment, and connective-tissue extension. 
Warm-up activities should be divided into general and specific. General warm-up increases body temperature and loosens large muscle groups. General warm-ups include light jogging, fast walking, easy biking, and calisthenics.  
Specific warm-ups raise the temperature of specific muscles. This is important for any activity that relies upon specific sets of muscles, such as pitching a baseball, swinging a golf club, or hitting a volleyball. Labor activities also cause DOMS, so if you plan to spend the day raking leaves, it is important to let your body warm to the activity. 

Repeated-bout Effect 

The repeated-bout effect is all about moderation. Using this strategy, new exercises or increased exercise levels are gradually introduced over several weeks as a way of avoiding or decreasing DOMS. Runners practice this by limiting mileage increases to less than ten percent per week. Workers in physical occupations gradually add new tasks to their routines. Golfers play nine hole games before moving up to eighteen holes.



Heat packs, hot water bottles, warm Epsom salt baths, and topical heat treatments are fantastic for DOMS. Topical heat treatment and heat packs are very effective for specific-muscle DOMS, such as sore necks and backs. Cold should be applied to areas where DOMS is accompanied by a specific injury, such as tendonitis.



Massage is a great way to work out soreness in muscles for many reasons, DOMS among them. Massage can include using the hands to rub and manipulate muscles, but it can also involve massage devices such as rollers, handheld electric massagers, and massage guns. Electric massagers and massage guns use vibration/percussive therapy, which has been specifically tied to the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness. Try Emu Therapy's health aides to help with your massage routines. 


Eat Right

A nutritious diet assists muscle recovery. Many powder and edible supplements assist DOMS recovery when used in conjunction with a balanced diet.


Avoid Dehydration

Water and electrolyte-replacement fluids keeps the blood flow to the muscles at a high level, reducing DOMS.



Ginger reduces inflammation. This is great news if you love gingerbread!


Essential Oils

Many essential oils loosen strained muscles. Examples include peppermint oil, lavender oil, and chamomile oil. CoQ10 is also proven to help loosen muscles.



A diet rich in magnesium and magnesium supplements reduce the effects of DOMS. 



In addition to all the great remedies available for delayed onset muscle soreness, it is important to stretch before and after exercise as well as maintain good flexibility and posture. Your muscles will thank you.




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