Rub it out?

Delayed onset muscle soreness DOMS is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise. After such exercise, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby soreness, if the exercise is repeated.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is one symptom of exercise-induced muscle damage. The other is acute muscle soreness , which appears during and immediately after exercise. The soreness is perceived as a dull, aching pain in the affected muscle, often combined with tenderness and stiffness.

The pain is typically felt only when the muscle is stretched, contracted or put under pressure, not when it is at rest. Although there is variance among exercises and individuals, the soreness usually increases in intensity in the first 24 hours after exercise. It peaks from 24 to 72 hours, then subsides and disappears up to seven days after exercise. The muscle soreness is caused by eccentric exercise, that is, exercise consisting of eccentric lengthening contractions of the muscle.

Isometric static exercise causes much less soreness, and concentric shortening exercise causes none. The mechanism of delayed onset muscle soreness is not completely understood, but the pain is ultimately thought to be a result of microtrauma — mechanical damage at a very small scale — to the muscles being exercised.

DOMS was first described in by Theodore Hough , [4] who concluded that this kind of soreness is "fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle". When microtrauma occurs to these structures, nociceptors pain receptors within the muscle's connective tissues are stimulated and cause a sensation of pain.

Another explanation for the pain associated with DOMS is the " enzyme efflux " theory. Following microtrauma, calcium that is normally stored in the sarcoplasmic reticulum accumulates in the damaged muscles. Cellular respiration is inhibited and ATP needed to actively transport calcium back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum is also slowed.

This accumulation of calcium may activate proteases and phospholipases which in turn break down and degenerate muscle protein. An earlier theory posited that DOMS is connected to the build-up of lactic acid in the blood, which was thought to continue being produced following exercise. This build-up of lactic acid was thought to be a toxic metabolic waste product that caused the perception of pain at a delayed stage.

This theory has been largely rejected, as concentric contractions which also produce lactic acid have been unable to cause DOMS. Although delayed onset muscle soreness is a symptom associated with muscle damage, its magnitude does not necessarily reflect the magnitude of muscle damage.

Soreness is one of the temporary changes caused in muscles by unaccustomed eccentric exercise. Other such changes include decreased muscle strength, reduced range of motion, and muscle swelling. Soreness might conceivably serve as a warning to reduce muscle activity to prevent injury or further injury.

With delayed onset muscle soreness DOMS caused by eccentric exercise muscle lengthening , it was observed that light concentric exercise muscle shortening during DOMS can cause initially more pain but was followed by a temporary alleviation of soreness — with no adverse effects on muscle function or recovery being observed.

After performing an unaccustomed eccentric exercise and exhibiting severe soreness, the muscle rapidly adapts to reduce further damage from the same exercise. This is called the "repeated-bout effect". As a result of this effect, not only is the soreness reduced, but other indicators of muscle damage, such as swelling, reduced strength and reduced range of motion, are also more quickly recovered from.

The effect is mostly, but not wholly, specific to the exercised muscle: experiments have shown that some of the protective effect is also conferred on other muscles. The magnitude of the effect is subject to many variations, depending for instance on the time between bouts, the number and length of eccentric contractions and the exercise mode. It also varies between people and between indicators of muscle damage.

It seems to gradually decrease as time between bouts increases, and is undetectable after about one year. The first bout does not need to be as intense as the subsequent bouts in order to confer at least some protection against soreness. In one study, a first bout of 10, 20 or 50 contractions provided equal protection for a second bout of 50 contractions three weeks later.

The reason for the protective effect is not yet understood. A number of possible mechanisms, which may complement one another, have been proposed. These include neural adaptations improved use and control of the muscle by the nervous system , mechanical adaptations increased muscle stiffness or muscle support tissue , and cellular adaptations adaptation to inflammatory response and increased protein synthesis , among others.

Delayed onset muscle soreness can be reduced or prevented by gradually increasing the intensity of a new exercise program, [11] : thereby taking advantage of the repeated-bout effect. Static stretching or warming up the muscles before or after exercise does not prevent soreness. The soreness usually disappears within about 72 hours after appearing.

If treatment is desired, any measure that increases blood flow to the muscle, such as low-intensity activity, massage, nerve mobilization, [14] hot baths, or a sauna visit may help somewhat. Immersion in cool or icy water, an occasionally recommended remedy, was found to be ineffective in alleviating DOMS in one study, [15] but effective in another.

Counterintuitively, continued exercise may temporarily suppress the soreness. Exercise increases pain thresholds and pain tolerance. This effect, called exercise-induced analgesia , is known to occur in endurance training running, cycling, swimming , but little is known about whether it also occurs in resistance training. There are claims in the literature that exercising sore muscles appears to be the best way to reduce or eliminate the soreness, but this has not yet been systematically investigated.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Pain in muscles after exercise. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. In Tiidus, Peter M ed. Skeletal muscle damage and repair. Human Kinetics. The Journal of Physiology. American Journal of Physiology. J Boston Soc Med Sci. Journal of Athletic Training. Sports Medicine. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

December 10, Physiological Reports. Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: a randomized controlled clinical trial". British Journal of Sports Medicine. Pain and nociception. Headache Neck Odynophagia swallowing Toothache. Sore throat Pleurodynia.

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2. You've upped your workouts—or you pulled something.

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, can show up anywhere on your body. They're most likely to appear on the outside of your mouth and lips, but you can also find them on your nose, cheeks, or. Sore definition is - causing emotional pain or distress. How to use sore in a sentence. causing emotional pain or distress; physically tender (as from overuse or injury): feeling or affected by pain: achy See the full definition. SINCE Menu. JOIN MWU. Regardless of whether you're sore, there are still improvements occurring in your muscles during exercise. However, moderate muscle pain might go a long way Author: Barbara Russi Sarnataro.


Exercise is an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle, but it can cause muscle soreness. Learn how to treat and prevent sore muscles. A strength and conditioning coach explains why you get sore after some workouts but not others.

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