Friday, March 4, 2011

Who's Sore??



Exercise physiologists refer to the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is perfectly normal.

Delayed onset muscle soreness occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction. Examples of this would be running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl.

The mild muscle strain injury creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe this damage, coupled with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, causes the pain.

No one is immune to muscle soreness. Exercise neophytes and body builders alike experience delayed onset muscle soreness.

If you do find yourself sore after a tough workout or competition, try these methods to deal with your discomfort. Although not all are backed up with research, many athletes report success with some of the following methods.
  • Use Active Recovery. This strategy does have support in the research. Performing easy low-impact aerobic exercise increasing blood flow and is linked with diminished muscle soreness. After an intense workout or competition, use this technique as a part of your cool down.
  • Rest and Recover. If you simply wait it out, soreness will go away
  • Try a Sports Massage. Some research has found that sports massage may help reduce reported muscle soreness and reduce swelling, although it had no effects on muscle function.
  • Try an Ice Bath or Contrast Water Bath. Although no clear evidence proves they are effective, many pro athletes use them and claim they work to reduce soreness.
  • Use R.I.C.E., the standard method of treating acute injuries, if your soreness is particularly painful.
  • Perform Gentle Stretching. Although research doesn't find stretching alone reduces muscle pain of soreness, many people find it simply feels good.
  • Try a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory. Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help to temporarily reduce the muscle soreness, although they won't actually speed healing. Be careful, however, if you plan to take them before exercise. Studies reported that taking ibuprofen before endurance exercise is not recommended.
  • Try Yoga. There is growing support that performing Yoga may reduce DOMS.
  • Warm Up completely before your next exercise session. There is some research that supports that a warm-up performed immediately prior to unaccustomed eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness (but cool-down performed after exercise does not).
  • ** If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.
  • Learn something from the experience! Use prevention first.

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