How to Prevent DOMS
If you work out regularly DOMS may be something you have come across with following a workout, however many can be unsure how to prevent muscle soreness from developing.
Whether you’re confused about what DOMS is or the causes and how to treat it, then read on to find out how to prevent DOMS and reduce your chances of developing it.
What is it?
DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is often confused with regular muscle soreness, however DOMs has a long lasting effect. DOMS is onset and often occurs several days following a workout, often around as long as 3 days post workout.
DOMS is often seen by many, in particular fitness fanatics, as the sign of a good workout. However it’s often a sign that you’ve pushed yourself too far and can be painful and restrictive to future workouts.
Causes of DOMS
DOMS was previously thought to be caused by an excessive buildup of lactic acid, however new research has found that it’s caused by sensitivity in the pain receptors, which become sensitised by the inflammatory response to muscle damage.
There are other factors which can influence your chance of developing DOMS such as your fitness age, muscular and skeletal system, muscle and tendon structure and your inflammatory response system.
Treatment options for DOMS ranges from nutritional guidance and massage to wearing compression clothing during workouts. Other treatments include, foam rolling and rest following an exercise session.
Increasing your intake of fats, protein and carbohydrates can all have a positive impact on DOMS and have been found to improve structural skeletal muscle damage. Whey protein is cited with helping to reduce the symptoms of DOMS as it accelerates the healing of muscle fibers.
A sports massage will help to alleviate muscle pain and heal micro trauma within the muscles, whilst working to flush out toxins and increase blood circulation around the body. A massage won’t only help to improve you mobility following exercise but can help to rehabilitate soft tissues within your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Wearing compression clothing during your workout can help to push blood through veins during exercise which results in your body developing symptoms of fatigue much slower than if you were to wear regular clothing.
How to Prevent DOMS
We are all aware of the importance of a warm up before exercise, and a light warm up can help to significantly reduce the chance of DOMS occurring and if it does, it can reduce muscle pain. A warm up of around 5 minutes will allow your body and muscles to warm up gradually and prepare for exercise. Don’t forget to cool down either and stretch out muscles to aid their recovery.
Contrasting temperatures in the shower can also help to prevent DOMS developing, by switching between hot and cold water. This works by alternating vasodilatation and vasoconstriction to the blood supply in your muscles and ensure blood flow nutrients are transported to the muscles. Similarly, a warm bath will also help to loosen up muscles especially if you had in relaxing bath salts.
You may also find that deep heat patches can help to reduce muscle pain following exercise as the cooling agent relax muscles. The science behind topical treatments are that they affect our sense of temperature in our neurons and reduce the brain and pain connection, resulting in muscles which are less sore.
If you do experience DOMS for more than 72 hours then it’s often a sign that you should seek professional advice and have a massage to help relieve excess soreness. Whilst there is no simple cure for beating DOMS you can take steps to prevent and reduce it.