Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) What is it?
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) occurs 12-72 hours after performing or participating in a form of physical activity your body is not used to, with the greatest pain often experienced 24-72 hours post-exercise. This may include aerobic activities such as riding a bike, going hiking, or swimming as well as strengthening activities such as performing squats, lifting weights, or jogging/running. Anyone can experience this, whether a professional athlete trying out a new strengthening routine or a novice to physical activity.
When returning to exercise or performing new forms of physical activity, including a physical therapy program, muscles are required that may have not been used in a while. Because of this, microscopic damage may occur to those muscles. DOMS is thought to result secondary to this, as your body is working to repair and heal this damage. Some symptoms that may be associated with DOMS include muscle soreness, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and possible temporary decreased strength and range of motion.
EASING DOMS SYMPTOMS There is little evidence that such treatment strategies will hasten recovery and return to normal function. If the primary goal is to reduce symptoms, then treatments such as ice pack application, massage, tenderpoint acupressure, and oral pain relief agents may be useful in easing pain. It is important to be aware that pain reduction does not represent recovery. Rather, these treatments may only be effective in reducing symptoms of pain, but underlying muscle damage and reduced function may persist.
DON’T DISCONTINUING EXERCISE
Often, symptoms diminish during activity, but they will return after recovery. Performing light activity should not impair your recovery.
SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT DOMS symptoms do not typically necessitate the need for medical intervention. If the pain level becomes debilitating, if limbs experience heavy swelling or if urine becomes dark, then medical consultation is advisable. Ask your PT to help correct any impairments to reduce further injury or re-injury!
If you experience some soreness after your session, don’t worry it is common. Sometimes in order for us to accurately determine the cause of your pain or problem, we may have to provoke some pain. If it doesn’t return to normal within a few days let us know.
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