In today’s article, I thought I would address a very important topic that affects all of us who do sports, namely: delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)!
I just got out of bed this morning, I can’t lift my arms, I wasn’t able to walk yesterday, 😊)) My whole back hurts. Each of us said something like this at least once in our life, after a demanding physical effort, whether it was a trip to the mountains, a session at the gym, or a football match with friends.
Muscle pain is a phenomenon feared and loved by those who attend gyms.
We are afraid of physical movement, what muscle pain means from a medical point of view and why do we get muscle pain?
To better understand what it is, what are the symptoms, myths, causes, and, implicitly, the ways to prevent it, but also the most effective 8 remedies against muscle soreness, I invite you to discover the information presented in this article.
What is muscle soreness?
Muscle pain is also known as the specific pain we feel a day or two after intense physical activity. From a medical point of view, muscle pain means a deterioration of muscle fibers that occurs as a result of intense exercise and to which the body is not accustomed and can create increased discomfort if not treated properly.
It occurs mainly after weight training and manifests itself in two stages of intensity:
1. Strong muscle pain – caused by eccentric contraction, ie elongation of the muscle
2. Mild muscle pain – caused by an isometry, ie change in muscle tone.
Usually, concentric contractions, i.e. Those that occur during aerobic training or those with resistance bands are not the cause of muscle fever.
Recommended read: Toning muscles with the rubber resistance band
Muscle pain is a sign that your muscles have been overtrained. However, you do not have to worry – this is a normal reaction of the body since the muscular system has been subjected to stress.
Click to Learn about a professional System That Helps You Increase Your Strength, Flexibility, and Stability
How long does it take for muscle soreness to “install”?
Pain is a signal from our nervous system—a way to let us know that something isn’t right. In the case of muscle pains, it’s a result of the micro-trauma that happens when you work on strengthening your muscles. The pain comes in waves, with peaks and valleys of intensity, as your body works to repair itself.
A general rule says that muscle pain occurs about 8 hours after exercise and can reach the maximum point of discomfort even 48 or 72 times later. However, this time is not precise and may vary depending on each body.
4 Common symptoms
The symptoms can range from mild discomfort and can even result in severe pain that restricts freedom of movement.
• Muscle sensitivity
• Inability to make certain movements
• Decreased strength is the most common symptom of muscle fever.
• Difficulty in lifting objects and lack of coordination due to muscle weakness.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may need to see a doctor:
- Muscle pain that lasts more than seven days
- Sharp pains
- Severe pain and swelling in your joints
- Painful muscles without exercise or injury
- Unexplained weight loss
Top 6 Causes
What causes it? There are many reasons why you might have muscle pain. Aside from activity-related soreness, there are other common causes of muscle pain. Let’s see 6 of them:
1. Eccentric contraction – lengthening of the muscle, the reason that leads to the most intense form of muscle fever
2. Concentric contractions (positive) – involve shortening the length of the muscle and are possible only if the load is less than the maximum potential of the individual (flexion of the forearm on the arm), in other words, you will never be able to make a complete concentric contraction with a weight higher than the one with which you can do a maximum repetition, a concrete example would be the resistance band workouts or the aerobic ones.
3. Isometry – change in tone without changing the length of the muscle
Recommended read: The ultimate full-body 7 home isometric exercises for women
4. Genetics – a likely factor that can lead to sensitivity and intensity; the effect may vary from person to person
5. Significant metabolic or physiological stress (eg intense massage).
6. Performing a new exercise – which requires the body a certain degree of adaptation can also be a cause of the installation of muscle soreness. This time, even athletes who have a training routine are prone, not just beginners. In fact, in this situation, muscle pain is considered a defense reaction of the body.
3 myths about muscle soreness
Most people experience some soreness after exercising. But the trouble is, most people don’t know the difference between the pain they feel after a good workout, and the pain they feel after exercise that wasn’t as effective, or if their muscles are injured. In a fit of confusion or frustration, they might attribute this pain to myths about muscle soreness, and end up doing more harm than good to their bodies.
Here are the most popular of them:
1. Light workout – You can’t get muscle pain if you do a light workout. How much myth and truth is there in this statement? Well, it depends a lot on the physical capacity of each of us. Most of the time, if you are a beginner athlete, you can develop muscle soreness even after a series of light runs.
2. Stretching – at the end of training prevents muscle pain. This statement remains just a myth because intense stretching will do nothing but exacerbate the symptoms of muscle soreness.
3. Hot bath – If I take a warm bath, I won’t have muscle soreness – False! Hot baths only relax the tense muscles, which only treats the effect of muscle fever, but not its cause. Studies have shown that a heated muscle no longer shows signs of muscle soreness but is only temporary.
Top 8 remedies
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an avid exerciser, you’ve likely experienced muscle soreness at some point. It’s the unpleasant feeling we get when we work a specific muscle group to the point of exhaustion—and often, it can make us want to stop working out altogether for fear that we’ll hurt ourselves.
Fortunately, some remedies can combat the unpleasant effects of muscle fever. In most cases, treating muscle soreness does not require medical intervention, so we can resort to methods of home improvement.
Here are the 8 most effective remedies:
1. Vitamin C – it has anti-inflammatory action and will relieve local inflammation of muscle tissue.
Recommended read: Vitamin C the winter’s star that strengthens the immune system
2. Cold showers – a cold shower stimulates blood circulation and promotes vascularization of the inflamed area, speeding up the recovery of muscle fiber.
3. Salt baths – a bath of about 20 minutes in salt water, it proves effective if you have muscle soreness.
4. Sport – to get rid of muscle soreness perform a few light exercises. The medical explanation is as follows: when subjected to stress (respectively adrenaline), the body releases a natural analgesic. So, try active recovery!
5. Fluids – hydration can relieve muscle cramps that occur due to insufficient fluid intake. Thus, the muscles need water to contract effectively.
6. Foods – Omega 3 fatty acids (which can be ingested by eating fish), pineapple, or ginger are some of the foods that contain antioxidants and are recommended to fight muscle soreness.
7. Rest – make sure you give yourself enough time to rest. Sleep is a good remedy for a lot of physical ailments and more, so it will also work to eliminate the symptoms of muscle soreness.
8. Ointments – the application of special ointments will help relax and regenerate muscle tissue.
6 Methods to prevent muscle soreness
Let’s see 6 methods by which we can prevent the installation of muscle soreness:
1. Don’t skip the warm-up
Muscle fever can be prevented by warming up properly before training.
2. Proper hydration
It is also important to stay well hydrated during workouts.
3. Quality sports equipment
Wearing quality sports equipment increases comfort during exercise and can help you get over the first problems of muscle soreness.
4. Break between workouts
Equally important, however, is the break between workouts.
5. Alternate exercises
Be sure to include more difficult and easier movements in your exercise routine.
6. The 10% rule
The 10% rule can help you prevent the symptoms of muscle soreness, especially if you have discovered your passion for sports. This means, in fact, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of training. When you start an exercise program, it increases by 10% their intensity and the actual running time.
Muscle soreness is often a sign of overtraining, in which the body is pushed beyond its limits and starts to break down.
Training too hard, too fast, or without adequate rest can all cause the symptoms of muscle soreness. If the soreness is caused by overexertion and not by exercise, then you’ll notice that your muscles aren’t necessarily tender to the touch, but rather just feel stiff and tight.
If the soreness is caused by exercise, then you’ll notice that your muscles are tender to the touch, indicating that they’re inflamed from overexertion. The inflammation may even be accompanied by a small amount of swelling (edema) and bruising (ecchymosis).
Severe muscle soreness often occurs when you’ve just started a new type of exercise and haven’t yet developed a degree of conditioning. It takes time for your muscles to get used to physical activity that’s increased in intensity or duration, but it should subside after a few sessions.
If you want to go safe and prevent muscle soreness, try exercises that produce concentric (positive) contractions. They do not generate the DOMS phenomenon (delayed onset muscle soreness). In this case, the recommended exercises are aerobic, as well as those performed with resistance bands.
Now you know the real causes and the most effective strategies to deal with them.
If the symptoms of muscle soreness persist for more than a week or if they are recurrent, it is advisable to consult a doctor. More so this advice remains valid if you notice shortness of breath or dizziness.
The best way to treat muscle soreness is to prevent it through proper warmup techniques before working out, coupled with an effective cool-down routine afterward.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclaimer for more info.
What do you guys think about my article?
You may also like:
- Swimming vs running – which is more efficient for burning calories?
- 10 steps for a harmonious and healthy body
- Why I prefer to train at home: 5 advantages
- How walking 10,000 steps a day impacts your health
- 8 simple things you should do to keep your fitness motivation going