Anyone who practices a sport on a professional or amateur level knows the unpleasant sensation of muscle aches and pains.
DOMS, i.e. Delayed onset muscle sensors they are linked to motor activity and muscle fatigue and appear after particularly intense workouts.
Let’s see together what DOMS arehow they manifest themselves and why they sometimes occur after sport and physical activity.
DOMS – Symptoms and Characteristics
Dull pain, stiffness and hypersensitivity are the special characteristics of post-workout muscle soreness.
At first, this condition presents as persistent pain and it increases when you try to stretch and contract the muscle interested. Usually, the feeling of soreness and stiffness increases about 24 hours after the workout and tends to gradually disappear within a few days.
Causes that Trigger DOMS
Post-workout pain may appear after muscular effort at high intensity or after performing an exercise never done before. They can also occur frequently as a result of rashes or unusual movements that our body is not used to.
In fact, there are several factors that, combined with each other, can give rise to the appearance of DOMS: Experts assume that this type of discomfort is caused by contractions and exercises based on the eccentric phase of high-intensity movement.
On the other hand, DOMS tend not to appear when performing movements and exercises that use isometric and concentric contractions.
During the eccentric phase of the movement microtraumas would form to the muscle fibers, which can cause the separation of actin and myosin: these microtraumas stimulate the pain receptors which send the pain sensation typical of DOMS to the brain.
In addition to the microtrauma theory, sports experts identify a possible cause for the occurrence of DOMS in thecalcium buildup in muscle fibers: This leads to degeneration of muscle proteins and an inhibition of the cells’ ability to breathe, resulting in tissue inflammation and pain.
How to prevent DOMS?
These muscle pains act as an alarm signal and communicate to the body that a period of rest should be observed, in order to avoid further injury.
In reality, DOMS should not worry those who practice an excessive sport: it is a completely normal physiological process.
Indeed, many athletes choose to continue training even in the presence of DOMS.: in some cases a concentric movement accompanied by pain tends to disappear during the exercise itself, without having adverse effects on the recovery and functionality of the muscles.
Those who practice bodybuilding and aimmuscle hypertrophy research DOMS on purpose: Feeling severe pain after workout means muscle sections will increase and in a nutshell, muscles will get bigger.
However, microtrauma resulting from over-eccentric training will help many microtraumas appear which could cause long-term muscle health issues.
DOMS are not the same for everyone: each athlete perceives them differently, with different intensity and with different consequences on motor skills, swelling and recovery times.
However, DOMS can be avoided by following a few simple rules that will in no way affect the success of the physical activity you have chosen to practice.
Methods to prevent muscle pain:
Among the preventive methods we find first of all the progressiveness of the exercise, the load and the repetitions carried out.
In theory, DOMS could be completely eliminated by choosing to perform an isometric and concentric exercise program.although avoiding the eccentric seems almost impossible if you engage in certain types of physical activity, such as bodybuilding or strength training.
If it was once believed that a stretching session before training could prevent and somehow avoid the appearance of DOMS, today this theory is belied.
However, you can try to limit the stretching of the muscles during the exercises, although this technique may not be applicable to many types of training.
What to do when DOMS are strong?
As mentioned above, the pains of DOMS they tend to go away within three to four days of first appearing.
Many athletes tend to train evenly even in the presence of DOMS: the literature on the subject indicates that training reduces and eliminates pain, although this case series appears to be still under investigation. In fact, there are no scientific studies on the subject that attest that DOMS can be fought with training.
Among the remedies reputed to be effective in soothing the discomfort associated with DOMS are the cryotherapy, or immersion in very cold water.
However, other studies underline the benefit brought to painful muscles by treatments which act on blood circulation by increasing it, such as massage, saunahot water immersion electrostimulation.