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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed onset muscle soreness presents as muscular pain that occurs after a workout. It is  thought to be due to temporary muscle damage and inflammation. A common trigger for  DOMS tends to be eccentric exercises which are exercises where the focus is held on the active  lengthening of muscles. DOMS tends to start the following day after an intense workout and  peaks at around the 48 hour mark. 

Common signs of DOMs:
- Dull, diffuse pain and tenderness  
- Stiffness 
- Swelling  
- Decreased strength of exercised muscles 

Typically, DOMS improves on its own after a few days and rest and it is normal to experience a  reduced ability to use said muscles during this time due to the inflammation. There is no quick  fix for DOMs relief and rest of exercised muscles is recommended. It is important to  understand that these muscles need time to heal and rebuild and not to stress them further  and “push through the pain” as this can increase your risk of injury. 

In most cases, DOMs is a positive sign as it signifies the healing and strengthening of muscles.  It is common to experience DOMS when beginning a new exercise program or activity,  drastically increasing your workout intensity and beginning to exercise for the first time ever or  in a while.  

DOMs can be a negative sign if it persists for more than 4 days with no improvement it is important to consult with your doctor or therapist for assessment and  investigation to see if something else is going on. 

Overall, DOMs are common and not a cause of concern. It is important to monitor your  symptoms and track that they improve over time. Don’t let DOMs hold you back from  beginning a new exercise program or activity, these are great ways to challenge your body and  get stronger.

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Siara Kainth 
Registered Kinesiologist