Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is all too familiar for the elite and novice athlete alike.  DOMS results from intense exercise to which the athlete is unaccustomed, especially at the beginning of the season, after some time away from training.  Although it appears to result more from eccentric (weight lowering, running downhill) movements, the exact cause is unknown.  What is known is that the soreness can be debilitating and can lead to a decrease in peak strength, increased in perceived exertion and pain with movement.
Anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen 400mg every 8 hours, started 4 hours before exercise) and Vitamin C (200mg twice a day for 2 weeks before starting exercise) can help to decrease the pain and soreness, the role of massage is less well known, but appears to have some positive effects on recovery.
Exercise is the most effective modality for decreasing pain from DOMS, but the effect is temporary.  Most DOMS will resolve spontaneously in 2-3 days after exercise.
DOMS should not persist with each exercise session and might underlie more serious problems if it persists.

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