Physically active people, such as athletes probably know what DOMS is. DOMS, short for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is a tender, yet painful sore that lasts about 24 to 48 hours after doing physical activities that you’re not used to, or going back to exercise after a week or two of rest.
The Causes of DOMS
Various researches have come up with multiple reasons why DOMS appear.
1st – It was caused by lactic acid buildup during exercise.
2nd – It was caused by muscle spasms.
3rd – Caused by tears in the muscle and its connective tissues and tendons as we work out.
The Reality About DOMS and Why It Occurs
However, among the three, the third one is the most legitimate of them all. The real reason why we experience DOMS is because of damaged tissues from doing exercises we are not accustomed for. There is also research conducted that backs up this information, and it is called ‘electron microscopy.’ This test is often performed on athletes that do exercises they are unaccustomed with. The results showed that it is indeed, micro-tears that causes DOMS to occur.
How Does DOMS Occur?
- The first thing you’ll notice when DOMS starts to occur is strenuous muscular contractions because of structural damage in the muscles.
- Next, the sarcoplasmic reticulum gets damage, which is a membrane responsible for releasing calcium, which is also a vessel that aids in muscular contractions.
- Once damaged, the calcium stored in the sarcoplasmic reticulum will leak out and goes straight into the mitochondria, which then results in inhibiting ATP production. When that happens, you will feel weaker and lack the energy you need to use throughout the day.
- If left untreated, the calcium will buildup and will activate enzymes that degrade cellular proteins, including actin and myosin.
- Next, the damaged membrane combined with muscle protein breakdown result in an inflammatory process that increases histamine production of free radicals.
- Lastly, combining the histamine and free radicals together, it will cause swelling around the muscle fiber that results to free nerve endings that is painful to endure, which is also known as DOMS.
Getting Rid of DOMS
To tell you the truth, there is no cure for DOMS. Once you have it, you always have it, and there’s no escape. However, if you start doing exercises you’re not used to, the only way to treat DOMS is to include these new exercises and practice it slowly for a few days and so. This will minimize DOMS in the long run since you are letting your body incorporate these type of exercises in your daily workout routine.
Ice Baths: Does it Work to Help Ease DOMS?
Since DOMS is an inflammation process, you might be wondering if ice baths can help ease DOMS. Yes, you can have those refreshing ice baths to minimize DOMS, but you don’t have to go overboard when doing so. When you minimize DOMS completely and you just started incorporating those new unaccustomed exercises in your daily routine, it will impair adaptations of these exercises.
Summing it Up
- DOMS is a result of micro-tears in the muscle.
- It is a painful sensation that causes swelling.
- The pain will last around 24 to 48 hours.
- To ease the pain, incorporate unaccustomed exercises to your daily workout routine.
- Ice baths may help but only do it once in a while to avoid further trouble.