What is DOMS?

March 10, 2022

You might have heard the term “DOMS” thrown around before; perhaps in the context of the gym, or exercise in general. DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness) is most easily defined as post-workout muscle pain. 

As painful as an intense gym workout can be at the time that you’re going through it, we all know that it can hurt even more a day or two later. Anyone who has ever struggled to lift a coffee mug to their lips or taken 20 minutes to walk up a flight of stairs following a vigorous gym workout has experienced DOMS. 

The good news is that DOMS is completely normal. In fact, it’s a tell-tale sign that your workout session has actually made a positive difference. The pain stems from rips and tears in your muscle fibres, as the result of activating muscles that aren’t accustomed to such strain.

Once these fibres tear, the surrounding muscle tissue will feel tight and sore. If it’s an area like your pectoral muscles, for example, you’ll probably find that you can’t swing your arms through their normal range of motion. If you’ve been working out your glutes or hamstrings, you might end up sleeping on the couch to avoid walking upstairs to the bedroom! 

However, once these muscles heal, they’ll be stronger. No pain, no gain, as they say…


Some quick points on delayed onset muscle soreness

  • The pain typically peaks approximately 48 hours after your workout.
  • DOMS will ease as time passes. The newly activated muscles grow accustomed to being worked out – as such, they tear less and the pain abates.
  • DOMS is different for everyone – the pain can vary from a dull ache to a severe burning and discomfort.
  • While there is no “cure” for DOMS per se, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the symptoms.


DIY treatments for DOMS

  • Hydration is key. By drinking lots of water during and after your workout, your body can deliver more oxygen to the affected muscles, which helps to prevent greater inflammation.
  • Periodically applying heat or cold to the sore/tight muscles in the hours following your workout can assist with blood flow through the tissue, thereby increasing flexibility.
  • Foam rollers can be highly effective in easing tension in sore muscles.
  • Give your body rest. Taking a day off from your workout schedule can actually help your muscles to recover faster and rebuild stronger.


Schedule a massage to treat DOMS at Essendon Natural Health

If you’re experiencing DOMS, a remedial massage from a qualified professional can help to alleviate pain, release tension and aid muscle recovery. Essendon Natural Health’s experienced massage therapist Chantal is here to assist – we also provide acupuncture, naturopathy, osteopathy and other holistic natural health services. Call 03 9337 8572 to speak with our friendly reception team, or simply book your appointment online.

Robert Gentile

B.C.M (Hons), C.Clin.Prac (China), C.Toyohari. Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist. Integrative Natural Medicine Practitioner.

Robert is a passionate and warm practitioner who has an extensive knowledge of integrative and functional natural medicine. He is down to earth and has an interest in organic foods, gardening and sustainable living. With over a decade of experience, he is renowned for being very thorough by both fellow practitioners and patients alike.