If you have been on any kind of strenuous exercise regimen, chances are that you have experienced a bit of muscle soreness. In many cases, the soreness sets in hours or even days after the exercise. This condition is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and it is often abbreviated as DOMS.

Here are a few things you need to know about DOMS

What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

DOMS is the muscular pain and stiffness that is experienced sometime after one undertakes a strenuous activity that they are not typically accustomed to. This pain and stiffness is a reflection of the stress that is experienced in the muscle, and it is mostly felt 24 to 72 hours after the exercise.

Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness a good thing?

Technically, DOMS can be a good thing. It has the effect of enhancing muscle growth, though to a limited extent. Muscle growth occurs through repeated tearing and repairing, and DOMS is a reflection of that process.

DOMS can be a warning sign that tells you to reduce the amount of strain that you place on your muscles. This is a good thing because it lets you know your current physical limits.

Unfortunately, DOMS could also be an indication of muscle damage, so it cannot be unilaterally taken as a sign of something positive.

How to Prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

If you are on an exercise regimen, you can prevent DOMS by increasing the intensity of you exercise activities over time in a slow and calculated fashion.

There are muscle conditioning garments that are specially designed to prevent DOMS. These compression garments come in form of sleeves, socks and shorts They may assist in reducing or preventing DOMS if worn while exercising. Under the direction of a qualified trainer, you can purchase and make use of some of these garments.

Some muscle contraction patterns are more likely to cause DOMS than others. Many trainers have created online instructional videos on how to exercise your muscles while limiting the likelihood of experiencing DOMS.

How to Alleviate Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Usually, DOMS vanishes on its own within three days. However, it is advisable to carry out activities that improve recovery such as water based exercise, hot and cold treatment, massage and light stretching or yoga.

The use of menthol based topical creams and sprays is a common method of alleviating DOMS. There are also many other lubes and creams that you can use both before and after you exercise. Some trainers and experts also recommend home remedies such as a bath with Epsom Salts. While home remedies may not work for everyone there are others who swear by them.

The science of DOMS has really improved in recent years. DOMS is now thought of as a kind of low grade muscle injury and common sense advice such as avoiding alcohol for 48 hours and modifying training load can really help speed up recovery.