D.O.M.S. is the soreness we feel in our muscles a day or two after a high intensity workout that our body is not yet used it. All athletes can be affected, from beginners to elite. The micro-trauma suffered by the muscle fibres during exercise causes this soreness as the body repairs itself and builds stronger muscles. It is NOT caused by the build up of lactic acid as previously thought. Lactic acid disperses within an hour or so.
D.O.M.S. can usually be avoided by gradually building up the amount and intensity of your training and having regular rest days so that the body can adapt slowly to the increased load. A thorough cool down and stretch regime after exercise will also help.
If D.O.M.S. does appear after a session, the following treatments can help most people. They all involve increasing the blood flow to the affected muscles which will aid the recovery process:
- Epsom Salts bath – The Magnesium salts help widen the blood vessels. They are absorbed through the skin.
- Gentle massage or foam roller – Avoid deep tissue massage during D.O.M.S. and always speak to your therapist before treatment if you have recently raced.
- Low impact cardio exercise – Try some swimming, static bike, light stretching or yoga.
- Eating a good nutrient and protein rich diet to give your body the building blocks for muscle repair.