SXS Fit Tip: Feel the Burn….Less

By Dr. Nadine Overgaard N.D.  “Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the complicated side effect of intense workouts. Often this soreness (starts usually 24-48 hours after workout) is the worst with eccentric or intense bouts of exercise after not working out for a long period of time. Pushing yourself as hard as you can for testing may also cause some muscle tenderness as well!

Over the years, scientists have tried to pin down why DOMS happens but have still not come across a clear culprit for the pain we endure. Theories have been disproved regarding the involvement of lactic acid and the tearing of the muscle tissue. Inflammation is definitely present, but we can’t conclude that it is the cause of DOMS. So, what can a sore athlete do?? If we don’t know exactly how it is caused it is hard to recommend how to treat it….

Here are a few recommendations that MAY be effective in reducing post-exercise pain:

  1. Foam rolling: a recent study with a very small group of participants had decreased muscle pain if they did foam rolling over the muscle groups used in the workout.
  2. Massage therapy has always claimed to have a positive effect on DOMS, but there have been many unsupportive studies. In 2017 there was a systematic review comparing all available studies and massage therapy came back as a winner!
  3. Hit the gym again! Want to decrease the pain you feel? Keep your body moving and do some more exercise. It has been shown to decrease DOMS…unfortunately it tends to come back after the workout is done. This reference article talks about different strategies that may be effective for DOMS.
  4. Contrast water therapy is one of my favorite recommendations for people with tight sore muscles. A study from 2007 has shown a decrease in DOMS following contrast water protocols. Most of us don’t have cold and hot water immersion baths at home, or at our gym so try using your shower instead. After your workout jump in the shower, put the water as HOT as you can for 1 minute, then (here is the fun part) put the water AS COLD AS YOU CAN for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times and end on COLD. Warning, doing this at night will keep you awake?

Don’t hold back ANYTHING during fall testing or any of your training sessions and try out a few of these solutions if you are feeling tender!!

SXS FITNESS TIPS submitted by Stefan Overgaard. Visit SXS Fitness.