You’ve decided to get fitter and you’re doing well. You’re exercising more regularly, pushing yourself a bit further and feeling good.
Except for those sore muscles.
You feel pumped after a workout but the next morning is different. Every part of you aches. You groan as you get out of bed, you whimper as you walk down the stairs and reaching for anything on a high shelf is out of the question.
Welcome to delayed onset muscle soreness. Let’s explore what it is, why it happens and how you can relieve it.
What is delayed onset muscle soreness?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) refers to soreness, aches or pain in your muscles 24-72 hours after exercise. It’s uncomfortable but it usually gets better by itself in a few days.
If you’re in pain while working out or immediately afterwards, it’s more likely you’ve experienced an injury. The soreness of DOMS usually kicks in the following day.
Why does DOMS happen?
You may have noticed that DOMS occurs when you’ve started a new exercise routine or intensified your workout – basically when you’re pushing yourself more than usual.
Exercise places stress on your muscles. DOMS is thought to happen because that intensified level of exercise has caused a small amount of muscle damage and tissue inflammation. It most commonly happens when the muscle is performing an eccentric (lengthening) contraction – such as running downhill, lowering weights or sinking into a squat. These actions cause small, microscopic tears in your muscles.
That’s not a bad thing – it’s actually a positive sign that your training has been effective. Your muscles are healing into a stronger state. This is just part of the process.
But how sore is too sore?
As a rule of thumb, the soreness shouldn’t stop you going about your usual daily activities. Yes, moving may be uncomfortable but you should still be able to go to work, take care of the kids, walk the dog or whatever you usually do.
If you’re in so much pain that you have to cancel planned activities, then you’ve probably overdone it. Live and learn – maybe exercise at a lower intensity level next time.
You’re trying to find the sweet spot where your workout challenges your body enough to make your muscles adapt but not so much that adaptation is out of reach. And you need to build in time for recovery.
How can you relieve sore muscles?
There are a few ways to relieve pain from sore muscles. You can try:
- Taking it easy for a few days while your body adapts – continue with light exercise but nothing strenuous
- Massaging the sore muscles
- Taking anti-inflammatory over-the-counter pain relief medications for a short time
- Applying heat to the sore area – Heat therapy works by increasing blood flow to the affected area providing more oxygen and nutrients to aid the healing process and helps restore movement.
One easy way to apply consistent heat is to use a Deep Heat Muscular Pain Heat Patches. The patches activate from 60 seconds.
The patch increases blood flow to the affected area, which delivers more oxygen and nutrients to aid the healing process and restore movement. Just apply the odourless, adhesive patch to your sore muscles and feel it work – it’ll provide up to 8 hours of pain relief while you get on with your day.
Within a couple of days of your workout, your muscle soreness should subside and you’ll be ready for your next workout. You’re getting fitter and stronger as you exercise and you’ve got a great year ahead.
All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.