5 Things You Can Do to Treat or Prevent DOMS
The term “DOMS” stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It occurs gradually after exercise and is felt as stiffness and mild pain. DOMS usually goes away 48 hours after your activity as your muscles heal. But you can do things to reduce the pain and speed recovery. DOMS is usually a normal response to increased activity levels that lead to microscopic tearing of your muscle fibers. Contracting our muscles while they lengthen is the most common cause of these tears. This is a normal response and how greater strength is built by your muscles.
Sports Massage treats DOMS to help you have a faster recovery time so you can continue training, or if you are a weekend warrior, get on with your day. Either way, massage can help you get the most out of your activity or athletic hobby and reach maximum performance potential. Sports Massage can prevent (used pre-event) and treat (up to 3 days post-exercise) DOMS, so we listed Sports Massage as our first choice in DOMS treatment.
Getting a sports massage to treat DOMS has several benefits besides pain relief
Localized pain can be due to lactic acid buildup and microscopic tears. Sports massage improves circulation to the injured area, which helps bring in fresh nutrients to help heal and remove waste products such as lactic acid.
Additionally, the increased circulation produced by the sports massage warms up the muscles, which helps them relax. This allows the muscle fibers to loosen and help prevent the tight feeling that may accompany your DOMS.
Sports massage will help improve your flexibility by working with your relaxed muscles. Your improved flexibility and range of motion will help prevent injury when you return to action.
If you are looking for DOMS relief, you most likely are looking for some way to relieve your sore muscles post-activity. Muscle soreness is caused by the normal microscopic tears in your muscle fibers that cause inflammation and, in turn, soreness is generally relieved by sports massage.
How can sports massage prevent DOMS or reduce its severity?
A sports massage can help prevent DOMS in the same way it treats it. A sports massage will warm up the area before your workout and improve flexibility and range of motion, which will help you perform your best and prevent other injuries from occurring. Many athletes use sports massage to return to their sport sooner and more safely than they would without the massage.
When your circulation is improved, your overall muscle health is improved. However, muscle tension and waste buildup can cause adhesions and restrictions over time, causing more probability of severe DOMS. The more you can move throughout the day; the less painful or likely your DOMS will be.
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Other ways that you can help prevent DOMS
Stretch Before Exercise
Stretching before exercise helps prevent injury by loosening up tight muscles.
If you want to reduce the pain associated with DOMS, consider stretching before exercising. Stretching helps muscles lengthen and relax, which reduces tension and improves blood flow. You should stretch large and small muscle groups, such as hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, glutes, and shoulders.
Stretching should include a good Warm Up.
A warm-up is an essential part of any workout routine. It prepares your body for exercise by increasing muscle temperature, improving circulation, and reducing stiffness. In addition, warming up also allows you to perform at your peak level during your workout.
TIP: If you want to reduce the pain associated with DOMS, start with dynamic exercises first. These exercises use large muscle groups and require more energy than static ones. They also help improve blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body.
Avoid Overuse | Take Time Off Exercising
It’s not uncommon for people who exercise regularly to feel DOMS. While some people experience DOMS right away, others may notice it later. If you want to improve your performance, you need to make sure you recover properly after each workout. That means taking breaks between workouts and resting enough before you start again. It also means ensuring you eat well and drink plenty of water during your recovery period. Learn more about Nutrition For the Female Athlete and Nutrition For the Male Athlete.
While rest days are essential, they aren’t the only thing that affects recovery. Some people who train too much end up with worse DOMS than those who train less often. This is because when you exercise, your body produces cytokines that cause inflammation. Cytokines are produced by immune cells, which fight off infections and other harmful substances. However, when you exercise too frequently, your body can release too many cytokines at once, causing inflammation.
Drink Water Before Exercise
It’s not easy to forget to drink water during exercise because we often feel thirsty. However, drinking enough water before will help keep you hydrated and reduce muscle cramps. Try drinking at least 16 ounces (1 cup) of water every 30 minutes during exercise. Visit our article on hydration for athletes for more detailed information.
Meet Carlos Matos L.M.T., a licensed massage therapist in Chicago with over 10 years of experience. Carlos L.M.T. specializes in deep tissue massage, sports massage, and myofascial release therapy. He is passionate about helping his clients achieve optimal health and wellness through customized massage treatments that target their specific needs. Carlos L.M.T. believes that regular massage therapy can improve both physical and mental well-being, and he takes pride in providing a safe and comfortable environment for his patients to relax and heal.