You’ve just completed an intense workout; attempted an activity outside your comfort zone; and PR'd on your squats. Feels all great until you wake up the next morning - barely able to move out of your bed.                                

Athletes, highly active individuals, and even sedentary folks are all but susceptible to DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

DOMS is the a pain that manifests 12-24 hours after an intense activity, peaking 36 hours post workout. It results from exposing muscles to intense unaccustomed training.

The consensus for DOMS is that it’s a result of microtraumas inflicted on the muscle, and the inflammatory process involved in muscle recovery.

Various studies have suggested ways to recover from DOMS.  Here are few DOs and DON'Ts to keep in mind to speed up healing, and get over the soreness quickly:

DO workout the next day. By moving and continuing to workout, DOMS subside much faster vs. complete rest.. Workout should focus on lower intensity, lighter loads, but higher repetitions of movement.

DON'T attempt to PR the next day. Beating records in the peak of DOMS means more muscle traumas as the intensity expose your muscle to increased fatigue and higher risks of injury.

DO apply modalities to alleviate the pain. Physiotherapists recomend COLD modalities, or ice packs immediately and upon onset of DOMS; and HOT modalities, i.e. hot compress 48 to 72 hours post workout.

DON'T forget nutrition! Nutrition works hand in hand with efforts in alleviating muscle soreness brought about by DOMS. We recommend protein rich food to aid muscle recovery.

DO Consult medical professionals should conditions worsen. Consult your doctor If soreness persists 96 hours post workout, accompanied with dark urine and heavy swelling.

Words by: Jek Llanos, Physiotherapist

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Braun, W., Ph. D, & Sforzo, G., Ph.D. (n.d.). ACSM Information on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from

Pearcey, G. E., MSc, Bradbury-Squires, D. G., MSc, Drinkwater, E. J., Ph.D., Behm, D. G., Ph.D, & Button, D. C., Ph. D. (2015, January). Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures.

Kisner, C., PT MS, & Colby, L., PT MS. (2007). Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Yu, C. (2014, June 17). No Pain, No Gain? 5 Myths About Muscle Soreness. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from

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