January – the month of renewed dedication to creating that beach body. Or maybe more realistically, the month dedicated to working off the excess of December.
Whether you’ve launched yourself into an active lifestyle for the first time ever or just upped the intensity of your regular training, hopefully you finish your workout feeling justifiably smug at your achievements. That is until you wake up the next morning, barely able to hobble to the bathroom and regretting every one of those squats from the day before.
Enter delayed onset muscle soreness - or DOMS for short - that post workout muscle soreness that makes the average flight of stairs look like your own personal Everest.
The exact mechanism that causes DOMS isn’t well understood; however, it appears to be the result of micro-trauma in the muscle and connective tissue causing inflammation. And while any exercise can induce DOMS, exercise with greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (the lengthening movement – think of lowering the dumbbell during a bicep curl) plays a significant role.
Put simply, no. Painful, limiting and often embarrassing while you waddle like a duck, but not harmful. However, DOMS can reduce muscle efficiency and reduce your range of motion so it is important to remember that your overall effectiveness will be reduced in subsequent workouts/sporting sessions. Due to the increased injury risk this can pose, it's important to allow your body to rest and recover.
Don’t be scared by DOMS and don’t use it as a reason to stay away from the gym. However, if you have any concerns – or your pain has lasted longer than 7 days – consult a friendly physiotherapist for advice and reassurance.
Thanks for reading!
This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Lisa Gold.
Thoughts or questions?