Unless I have sore muscles after working out I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. But I HATE being overly sore for too many days afterwards. I feel like an old woman at times and I realize all too late that I might have overdone it. Being unable to wash your hair for two days after shoulder is not cute. Dry shampoo will only get you so far.
So what is the soreness called and what does it do to your body? The actual name of the condition is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.
What are they?
When you work out, you create microscopic tears in the muscles. That is how your muscles get bigger from working out. The soreness you feel after working out is the body’s response to those tears. It is trying to repair itself. The body is amazing in that sense. Unfortunately, if you have severe DOMS it might take more than a few days to feel better. Especially if you haven’t worked out in a few weeks, errr, months, your DOMS will probably be greater.
How to treat them
There is not one specific method that works every single time. Most of the time, I just suffer through the pain and silently bash my head against a wall saying I will never push myself that hard again. But in a quest to feel better faster, I tried some of these methods.
- Hydration: Make sure you get some water into your body to flush out the fluids it wants to hold on to. You have to water flush your body to keep the liquids flowing through instead of settling in.
- Ibuprofen: Low-dose, over-the-counter painkillers. It is supposed to alleviate inflammation. I didn’t see too much of a difference but I might have waited too long.
- Gentle Stretching: Muscles essentially seize after they have been traumatized by a workout. Stretching it out helps to relieve some of the tightness that might come after a workout. I always forget to stretch, more like I’m rushing home and “don’t have the time.” But when I actually take the time to stretch I do feel better and my body is less sore.
- Light Massage: Massages help move blood through the muscle instead of it remaining static. I have tried a massage and almost always cry from the pain. I can’t do it. I feel like I am going to die. My massage therapist ALWAYS yells at me that I need to stretch more. Foam rollers are supposedly great for this. I have yet to find a roller I truly like. (If anyone has any suggestions, leave me a comment below.)
- Warm Bath: Warm water helps to loosen up the muscles and leads to a faster recovery. This is my FAVORITE method but I have a small issue with being so relaxed I fall asleep in the tub. Possible drowning aside, this is really an amazing way to alleviate your soreness and relax.
- Hot/Cold Treatment: You can switch between and ice pack and a heat pack. Every 15 minutes you switch between the two. This helps with circulation and speeds up muscle recovery time. I have not tried this but it is now on the list.
Basically, you can’t ever truly beat them. It is an good indicator that you have sufficiently worked yourself out, but the next time you have to not over due it. If it takes more than a week to recover you could have done some serious help and need to seek medical attention. DOMS are your body’s way of telling you that you need rest and might need more than you originally mapped out. But in the end the pain, burn and soreness is a badge of honor that we wear proudly and boast about. Who wants to go to the gym and not feel a little sore? When that happens, you feel like you cheated yourself out of a workout. DOMS are all part of the game and some days they are worse than others. Just be mindful of what your body is saying and take it one day at a time.
If you have any tried and true methods to relieving DOMS, leave me a comment down below.
– FloGrown Fitness Belle