DOMS (post-workout soreness) and how we can help!

What is DOMS?

DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness is the muscle pain or tenderness that begins after you have worked out. The soreness usually begins 24-48 hours after training, peaking at around the 48-hour mark. DOMS is often a good indication that you have worked hard and effectively as the muscles ‘repair’ themselves, becoming stronger as they do so.

Why do I get DOMS?

We experience DOMS because of diffuse microscopic injuries to the muscles and the inflammation that results from it. It is completely natural and is your body’s way of building muscle strength and stamina. If you are newer to working out or resistance training, you will experience DOMS much more often than a person who has been training for years. This is because your body gets stronger, and your muscles adapt to the new movement the soreness eases. As your body adapts to your workout, DOMS will ease but if you are training a muscle group that have been untouched for a while, it is almost certain that you will be aching the next day.

How can Osteopathy help?

Most people who see our osteopaths do so for help with conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and joints. DOMS fits into this perfectly as people require relief from their sore and aching muscles. Osteopaths help through the improvement of mobility, which will prevent areas in your body from overloading during workout sessions. Seeing one of our Osteopaths regularly means that you can understand your body more and become much more in tune with yourself, working out also how to relieve the soreness yourself through stretches given to you by your Osteopath. Your Osteopath will use techniques to relieve muscle pain and prevent reoccurrence in the future. Through routinely visits, you will be able to improve your recovery time and perform better than ever in the gym or out on the roads.

Can DOMS be mistaken for injured muscles?

Unfortunately, both DOMS and injured muscles can be mistaken for one another. The discomfort associated with DOMS typically starts 24 hours after working out. In contrast, you will feel pain almost immediately in response to an injury. It can be quite difficult to discover for yourself whether the ‘soreness’ you are feeling is an injury or delayed-onset muscle soreness. This is where our Osteopaths can come in to help you, through an initial consultation and treatment they will be able to identify whether the pain you are feeling is due to injury or DOMS. In either outcome, our osteopaths can treat and rehabilitate the body and muscles, enabling you to go back to weightlifting in no time!

Five ways to reduce DOMS:

  • HYDRATION: Hydration is key in any form of muscle repair as the loss of electrolytes in the body contribute to muscle soreness. We always recommend bringing a bottle of water to the gym to ensure that you are replacing the fluid lost during your workout. The NHS recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day (roughly 1.2 litres) to avoid dehydration and to keep the body functioning well.
  • OSTEOPATHY: Through muscle manipulation and massage, Osteopathy can play a critical role in reducing inflammation within the body.  It can help to reduce pain from DOMS and aid your muscle recovery not only by easing inflammation but, improving blood flow, and reducing muscle tightness and swelling.
  • INCREASE CIRCULATION: An increased circulation means more oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood will be going into the ‘sore’ muscles, easing the pain significantly. Osteopathy helps improve circulation massively through different manipulation and massage techniques, shortening the duration of DOMS. Overall, increasing your performance in the long-term.
  • SLEEP: Sleep is an incredibly powerful aid to not only help with DOMS but is also a key for wellness and lifestyle. The body naturally repairs itself during a deep sleep as it is a naturally regenerative process where your body can restore, rebuild, and adapt the body.
  • ACTIVE RECOVERY: Active recovery will most likely be the last thing you wish to do when experiencing DOMS. But it is particularly important to stay active and keep moving through the soreness. After an appointment with our Osteopaths, you are given a selection of stretches and small exercises to complete to reduce the effect of DOMS. These can range from warm-down exercises to complete after a session along with dynamic stretches to ease the pain caused by DOMS.