A Bad Case of DOMS

That's Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. I was supposed to go swimming yesterday at Metro but I had severe body pains and was having a slight fever. Che was laughing when I seemed unable to lift a dish to pass to her over at dinner.

It's that bad. I felt weak all over - like I was hit by a truck, or pounded to a pulp. Just last night, I couldn't sleep because of my pain. At around 2am, I took Mobic 15 mg and that helped a bit. But it was only after massaging my chest that I felt relief and went back to sleep.

What did I do? Well, I went back to using the balance stepper exerciser after a long time.

I only did around 40 minutes and it felt fine (I usually did 1 hour workouts before) with no problems AT ALL. And this still was last Tuesday. A few days before, I did my old dumbbell exercises for the shoulders.

What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

According to wikipedia.com
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), also sometimes called muscle fever, is the pain or discomfort often felt 24 to 72 hours after exercising and subsides generally within 2 to 3 days.

It is commonly thought to be caused by increased lactate concentrations; however, high lactate concentrations from exercise typically subside in the body within an hour, so it can not explain pain experienced days after exercise.

Although the precise cause is still unknown, the type of muscle contraction seems to be a key factor in the development of DOMS. A theory recently developed states that DOMS is caused by the breakdown of muscular fibres.

This is particularly apparent in strength/resistance programs. The breakdown occurs due to stress, and allows the muscles to grow stronger and larger, as shown through hypertrophy.

Exercises that involve many eccentric contractions, such as downhill running, will result in the most severe DOMS. This has been shown to be the result of more muscle cell damage than is seen with typical concentric contractions, in which a muscle successfully shortens during contraction against a load.

Some research claims that DOMS is not caused by the pain from damaged muscle cells, but from the reinforcement process. The muscle responds to training by reinforcing itself up to and above its previous strength by increasing the size of muscle fibers (muscle hypertrophy).

This reinforcement process causes the cells to swell in their compartment and put pressure on nerves and arteries, producing pain.

Here's a good description of the pain and what can be done about it. From weightladder.com:

DOMS refers to a pain that presents itself long after a workout is finished. Typically, this ranges from a period of 12 to 48 hours after lifting or a strenuous workout. The pain is usually intense and debilitating.

You may not be able to walk or perform your usual activities. If you’ve ever done too many sit ups and lived to regret it at lunch the next day, you’ve had DOMS. It is common and most of us go through it when we first start a new workout plan.

If you already have DOMS and you’re looking for relief, here are a few quick tips. Gentle massage is very effective at removing pain, but you will need to avoid any strenuous activity while you’re feeling the pain.

This will not be hard especially if your DOMS is severe. OTC pain killers can help, but stick to low doses of aspirin or ibuprofen. Stay away from acetametaphine.

Warm and moist heat can also be very effective in treating DOMS, but some people respond better with icing. Do what feels best and find the right combination for your own recovery.

DOMS happens to most of us and although it is painful, it does go away in about three days or so. It’s a sign that you need to scale back a bit and remember your stretches.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

i-Observer said...

I thought you were having Dirty Old Man Syndrome! This is probably what I had when I ran my first marathon... I trained properly but because of the adrenaline rush of running my first one, I over did it and felt the effects the next day!

Blackdove said...

If you trained properly, then you were already accustomed to the activity and was fit. Yours was most likely fatigue and strain. DOMS happens long after the activity - hence the phrase "Delayed Onset".

I exercised Tuesday and felt fine. Wednesday was also fine, totally unremarkable. And then BAM! Thursday I was having a slight fever and weak with body pains all over.