Ready, Set,..Ouch!!! Help Your Clients Breakthrough DOMS-Related Pain to Achieve their Fitness Goals
Almost 50% of New Year’s Resolutions focus on fitness goals. Gym traffic will surge, running shoes will return to the rotation, and those new lululemon outfits will be put to good use. The New Year Fitness Enthusiast will start off strong and feel that rush of achievement but only to be followed by aches and pains commonly referred to as the dreaded DOMS. This painful speed bump could be enough to knock this enthusiast off track. Nearly 23% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned after one week. Your hands and expertise combined with a helpful boost from a Menthol Soothing Therapy Enhancement are the ideal solution for keeping your clients on track.
"Massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling — with no effects on muscle function." [by Z Zainuddin · 2005 NIH · Cited by 478]
Helping your clients understand what DOMS is and its causes can help them manage and alleviate its effects, allowing for a smoother recovery process. Here is a quick refresher…
What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?
DOMS refers to the pain and discomfort experienced in muscles after engaging in strenuous physical activities or workouts. Unlike the immediate soreness felt during or right after exercising, DOMS typically emerges around 24 to 72 hours post-activity, peaking within that timeframe.
Causes of DOMS:
Microscopic Muscle Damage:
During exercise, especially when introducing new or intense activities, muscles undergo stress beyond their accustomed level. This stress can cause microscopic damage to muscle fibers, leading to inflammation and soreness as the body repairs and rebuilds these tissues. Eccentric movements (lengthening of muscles while under tension) are particularly known for causing DOMS. Activities like downhill running, plyometrics, and weightlifting involving eccentric contractions often trigger DOMS.
Lactic Acid Buildup (Debunked):
Contrary to popular belief, lactic acid buildup is not the primary cause of DOMS. While it does contribute to the burn felt during intense workouts, lactic acid is swiftly metabolized and cleared from the muscles, often within an hour after exercising. Instead, the delayed soreness is attributed more to the microscopic damage and subsequent inflammation.
Following intense exercise, the body’s immune system responds to the muscle damage by initiating an inflammatory response. This triggers the release of various substances that contribute to pain sensation, such as prostaglandins, cytokines, and histamines. The heightened inflammation in the affected muscles contributes significantly to the discomfort experienced during DOMS.
Managing and Alleviating DOMS:
While DOMS is a natural outcome of challenging physical activities, several strategies can help manage its effects:
- Gradual Progression: Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of workouts allows muscles to adapt and minimize the severity of DOMS.
- Proper Warm-up and Cool-down: Engaging in a proper warm-up routine before exercise and a cooldown afterward can help prepare muscles and reduce the severity of soreness.
- Hydration and Nutrition: Staying hydrated and consuming a well-balanced diet rich in protein and antioxidants aids in muscle repair and recovery.
- Active Recovery: Light exercises or activities such as swimming, walking, or yoga can promote blood flow to the affected muscles, facilitating recovery.
- Massage and Recovery: A regular visit to your favorite Massage Therapist at Hand & Stone Spa and prioritize adequate sleep and rest periods between workouts allowing muscles to repair and rebuild.
- Pain Management: Over-the-counter, NSAID-free and opioid-free topical pain relief solutions like Stopain® Clinical
While DOMS can be uncomfortable, it’s a natural part of the muscle repair process following intense physical activity. Understanding its causes and employing effective recovery strategies can significantly minimize its impact, allowing individuals to continue their fitness journey with reduced discomfort and improved performance over time. Remember, a balanced approach to exercise, incorporating adequate rest and recovery, especially massage with Menthol Soothing Therapy, is key to achieving fitness goals while minimizing the effects of DOMS.