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Why DOMS can be good for you

Categories: DOMS
Tags: pain, Sore Muscles

A few days ago, you had a surprisingly easy time doing something new and athletic, pushing your boundaries. Right afterwards, you felt proud and strong. You told everyone you were on the right track. Now your muscles are screaming and you're thinking 'I'm too old for this!' and 'This is NOT worth it.'

Every active person has experienced DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. DOMS starts a day or two after a challenging workout, and it affects the muscles that you used differently or more intensely than usual. DOMS can strike anyone, from a fitness novice to a seasoned athlete.

DOMS when you challenge yourself

If you used your biceps more intensely than usual, then you may be having trouble lifting your arms. If you asked a lot of your calf muscles, it might hurt to walk. If you're new to a sport or activity or are re-starting your training after a long break, then DOMS may affect several muscle groups and leave you stiff and all-over achy. Ouch!

Weight training and sports that depend on repetitive motion are especially likely to cause muscle soreness. Milder and more varied types of exercise are less likely to have this effect. But don't be surprised if you get sore even if you’re taking care to accelerate your training gradually. Anything you're not used to doing can bring on a bout of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Your muscles are coming back stronger

What causes DOMS? Years ago, many people believed DOMS was caused by lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Now we know better. DOMS is caused by micro-tears in muscle fibres, often accompanied by an inflammatory response.

DOMS means you're experiencing the type of damage that makes it necessary to rebuild muscle tissue. When the muscle heals, it will come back denser and stronger, making it possible for your body to meet your demands. So, while DOMS may feel like an injury, it is a sign that you're strengthening your body and pushing forward towards your goals.

Should you embrace the pain? You’ve got a better option. One of the things you can do to manage DOMS symptoms also helps with muscle regeneration: sports massage.

Massage can relieve DOMS symptoms — and promote healing

Nothing does more to help with post-workout soreness than massage. In its article ‘Why Do I Feel Pain After Exercise?’, the NHS lists massage as an effective method of treatment for DOMS. A 2005 peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Athletic Training found that massage reduced DOMS pain by 30% and reduced swelling as well.

Massage can do more than relieve DOMS symptoms; It can help improve strength and flexibility and relieve stress so you get the maximum benefit from your training.

  • Massage provides pain relief and improves healing by lengthening and stretching painful, damaged, bunched-up muscle fibres and promoting flexibility.
  • Massage reduces inflammation and tenderness by improving circulation.
  • Massage may help improve strength by increasing blood circulation to developing muscles.

When it comes to treating DOMS, some swear by icing the sore muscles, and some think heat therapy is a better strategy. Everyone agrees that massage is a highly effective treatment. It reduces pain and inflammation, improves circulation and promotes relaxation. Massage de-stresses both body and mind.

Could the pain be something more serious?

The pain may be mild or intense, but DOMS always affects muscles, never joints. You should talk to a medical professional before scheduling a massage if you think you might be dealing with something more serious, for example, if:

  • the pain is in your joints
  • the pain lasts for more than a week
  • the pain is much more intense on one side, but the activity was the same on both sides; it's asymmetrical.

If you're suffering from post-exercise muscle soreness and all indicators point to DOMS, then a massage will help. Make an appointment today and reward yourself for your hard work. Let us help you come back stronger and get past your DOMS pain faster so you can get back to pursuing your goals, full speed!

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