News Flash: If your muscles feel sore one or two days after exercising, you are experiencing late onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Treating it is complicated because there is no safe cure, and there are a number of studies on what recovery methods work best, but it can help address the discomforts of DOMS as it progresses.
What is DOMS?
DOMS occurs when there are microtears in the muscle that lead to a gradual inflammatory process during the first 24 to 48 hours after intense training, Tedd Keating, PhD, an associate professor of kinesiology at Manhattan College, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview. Some professionals believe, although it has not been scientifically proven, that microtears and inflammation are mainly the result of eccentric movements such as squats or deadlifts that lengthen the muscles in a controlled manner. Also, when you do an exercise that you have not done before or increase your repetitions, you are more likely to experience DOMS.
Home remedies to treat DOMS
Some recovery methods that have shown positive results (professional massage, immersion in cold water, etc.) are not always practical. So, this is what you can do at home.
Ice and heat
There are contradictory investigations that classify ice over heat (and vice versa), and there are also investigations that support both as useful treatment methods. You can read more about it here. Although some studies found that ice prevents recovery, Dr. Keating said it may be useful in controlling pain. Physiotherapist Tyler Denn-Thiele, DPT, CSCS, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview that thermal pads can also help with discomfort temporarily. And as physiotherapist Karen Litzy, DPT, said: "If it makes you feel good, do it."
Find these things in your kitchen
Litzy and Dr. Keating noted that acid cherry juice was a means to minimize muscle pain, as indicated in some small studies. Litzy added that drinking high-protein chocolate milk after exercise has shown promising results based on a small study. Stan Dutton, personal trainer and head trainer certified by NASM in the application of Ladder exercises, told POPSUGAR that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has a moderate impact on pain improvement. Nutrition is key here, so make sure you eat a balanced diet with enough protein and carbohydrates and drink a generous amount of water. (You can also take ibuprofen.)
Active recovery, foam rolling and sleep
Move! The good news is that, in a meta-analysis of about 100 studies, active recovery was one of the methods that also seemed to have the most effect on DOMS. Options for active recovery include walking, stretching that involves constant movement (try this 30-minute power yoga flow), cycling or light lifting.
Due to something called "repeated combat effect", the repetition of a workout in sore muscles over time will become easier. However, Denn-Thiele advised that you should be careful with how much you do with those sore muscles. If the pain is greater than five out of 10 and does not go away with a warm-up, he recommends trying a different type of exercise. Foam wrapping is also a form of self-massage that can temporarily help with pain because it increases the blood flow to the muscles. Finally, make sure you get enough sleep, seven to eight hours a night, both Denn-Thiele and Litzy agreed.
Important note about the red flags
These experts stressed the importance of knowing the difference between pain and pain. Being sore, Dutton explained, is uncomfortable and can sometimes last for days, but the pain may last longer and is "more acute." Therefore, contact a doctor if the muscle pain becomes painful, especially if it radiates to your legs. Other warning signs are significant muscle atrophy, deep weakness and dysfunction of the bladder or bowel, Litzy said. The tail-colored urine can be a sign of rhabdomyolysis, which is a rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue and could lead to kidney failure if left untreated.
For more detailed advice on how to treat specific muscle groups, see below:
The guidelines for relieving DOMS are practically the same no matter where you experience them in your body, although there are certain things you can try, such as rolling foam on your legs and active back stretches, which may be specific to that muscle group. Remember to control your pain, but do not be afraid to continue exercising.