DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity. They can kick in around the 6-8 hours mark and tend to peak around the 48 hour mark. There is no hard and fast rule though, this is just a guideline.
What Cause the pain? (Dear Lord the PAIN – when will I walk again!!!)
It is a highly debated area with a few theory’s floating around. Is it a build-up of lactic acid and toxic metabolic waste? Or is it product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue? Regardless of who is right or wrong – got DOMs, then you pushed yourself, hard. Or at least you worked a muscle in a way that it hasn’t been worked before or to that intensity.
Suck it up my little buttercups. Be proud that you pushed yourself beyond what you have done before. Take the hurt as a badge of honor and deal with it. Limp around with pride that anyone not as sore as you is a loser (JOKING!). It will ease, it will get better.
How can I ease the pain and help recovery?
Protein: Lean protein will help aid muscle repair. Pile it into your face!!
- Stretching: after class/workout.
- Keep moving: don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself, it isn’t going to solve anything. Go for a walk or a swim. Something low impact but will keep the blood flowing.
- Soak: in a bath. (Provide there is someone around to help lift you out if required)J. If you don’t have a bath then use contrast showers – Switch every 2 minutes between hot and cold, avoid extreme temperatures.
- Hydrate: Water, loads and loads of water. Rehydrate those muscles!
- SLEEP! Let your body work its magic and sleep to help it recover!
Yup – ‘cos it’s funny for me to watch the agony!
Seriously, what better way to ease out the pain than to get the blood pumping? Take the lower impact moves and think more of “active recovery” than going as hard as normal and just get a good sweat on, it will work wonders for the soreness, it’ll just be the first 5 minutes that’ll feel like an eternity, then you’ll forget all about it!
Should I take pain killers?
This is a personal choice and dependent on your pain threshold, personally I would have to be unable to move to resort to medicating DOMs, an injury is different, pain from injury is a totally different matter. I’m talking about those sore legs from a particularly leggy round, or a sh*t ton of squats at bootcamp.
Ibuprofen can help with debilitating soreness but this is certainly not a long term solution. Aside from the negative effects from over use of anti-inflammatories on the Liver and Kidneys, it is suggested that they may only reduce the pain at the expense of impeding muscle recovery. Stick to the step above to help cope with the worse days. Remember the next time the pain wont be as bad as long as you are consistent in your training.