Are you in pain after you exercise?
Are you in pain after you exercise? Tenderness and pain can often be experienced after moderate to high intensity activities, or when engaging in new activities which your body is not used to. This is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. The symptoms of tenderness and pain usually develop over a period of 24 to 72 hours. DOMS can cause reduced range of movement, strength and coordination. Generally, DOMS is short-lived and only lasts 5 – 7 days. However, this period of time can be quite debilitating and can interfere with your daily activities and exercise goals. Many theories have been postulated to explain the occurrence of DOMS. Here are some of them:
1Accumulation of Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is a metabolic waste product generated by exercising muscles. It was thought that the accumulation, and continued production of lactic acid post-exercise, was the cause for DOMS. However, lactic acid has now been widely disproved as a cause for DOMS. It is now believed that actic acid build up can only account for acute soreness occurring during exercise. Lactic acid levels go back to baseline within an hour after exercise and thus cannot explain the soreness that develops 24 hours after.
According to this theory, DOMS is a result of ongoing muscle spasms that does not subside even after exercise. It was thought that local spasms caused the compression of blood vessels which led to the a decreased blood flow and accumulation of metabolic waste products. However, there has been no consensus on whether or not there is a sustained increase in the resting level of muscle activity following exercise. Therefore, this remains a controversial explanation for DOMS.
3Connective Tissue and Muscle Damage
Many body structures, like muscle fibers, tendons, blood capillaries and others tissues, can undergo mechanical damage when subjected to tensile stress during exercise, especially with eccentric-type movements. Damage to these structures cause the stimulation of pain receptors and may be the cause for the sensation of pain and soreness associated with DOMS.
A local inflammatory response is initiated following damage to the muscle fibers from exercising. A cascade of chemical reactions take place during the inflammatory process. As a result of this, inflammatory cells inflitrate the damaged tissues, sweling accumulates and pain receptors are stimulated, resulting in the symptoms of DOMS.
There are a few ways to mitigate the symptoms of DOMS. The following can help you recover from DOMS while you are training and achieve your exercise goals:
5Rest and Ice
It is extremely important to give your body time to heal and repair itself. Rest is a key factor of the healing process. Make sure you get adequate rest following a bout of exercise, especially if you have not been active in a while or are starting a new activity. If you are feeling pain and soreness after your workout, an intermittent application of ice to the affected area can help temporarily reduce the pain.
There are many benefits to massage. It has been theorized that massage promotes better circulation, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to the affected muscles. Massage may also prevent the build up of noxious chemicals and slow down the inflammatory process. Research has shown that massage can help decrease the perception of soreness after exercise.
7Exercising other body parts
It is advisable to exercise other body parts not affected by DOMS, so as to allow the sore muscles to recover. Interestingly, research has shown that exercising during DOMS can actually help decrease the perception of soreness. The downside is that the pain relief is only short-lived and likely to come back after stopping the exercise. It has been proposed that exercising can break up adhesions, remove noxious products from the body and cause a release of endorphins, which lead to the alleviation of pain. Keep in mind that exercising while in a state of DOMS comes with some risk of further injury because of its impact on range of movement, strength and coordination.
There is growing evidence that the use of compression sleeves and stockings may help with exercise-induced soreness. Compression sleeves and stockings help promote blood circulation in the extremities, support the venous system and prevent swelling.
Our team Therapy One clinicians can help you combat the effects of DOMS
- Maximize your exercise potential through our Exercise Optimization Program
- Our Massage Therapists can help counteract the effects of soreness
- Receive expert advice from our therapists to keep your pain under control