What Is DOMS?
DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness.
It is a condition that causes significant muscle aches and soreness, typically around 24-48 hours following a challenging bout of exercise (hence “delayed onset”).
It’s caused by micro-trauma to the tiny fibers within our muscles, which leads to inflammation, swelling, and changes in normal levels of electrolytes and other fluids near the affected muscles.
DOMS is temporary — depending on how intense your exercise was, any delayed onset soreness should go away within about two to four days.
During this recovery period, the goal will be to help your muscles naturally pump out excess fluid and decrease inflammation.
You also need to give your muscle fibers time to heal (when done correctly, your muscles should actually come back stronger than before).
If you find yourself saying, “OMG, I’m so sore!,” then here are some things you can do to help DOMS go away faster:
Wear compression garments, like compression tights, socks, and/or arm sleeves
Get a (gentle) massage (avoid deep tissue work, though)
Use a foam roller to gently roll out and stretch your sore muscles (but avoid excessive stretching)
Do active recovery — light and low-intensity exercise that helps get the blood flowing and muscles moving, such as walking, easy biking, and gentle hiking or swimming
NOTE: If your DOMS is significantly debilitating and presents with fever, severe muscle cramps, and/or dark colored urine, you should go to the hospital right away.
While rare, these symptoms can indicate a medical emergency called rhabdomyolysis, which is associated with significant muscle breakdown that can be damaging to your kidneys.
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health. We are also the national purveyors of the EZCOACH Fitness Prescription System licensed by fitness professionals.
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