For some, soreness in the days following productive workouts are considered a badge of honor. Athletes of all backgrounds know the feeling of sore muscles from training or competition.
Skeletal muscle soreness occurs when our muscles have been loaded and worked beyond normal thresholds. When these forceful contractions take place, they result in micro-tears, which cause DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. The peak of muscle soreness typically comes two days after the activity.
But how do we know when we have pushed it too far, and what is the best way to recover and get back to exercising?
There are many methods and remedies you can use to assist in recovery from muscle soreness:
Together with supplements, topical over-the-counter ointments can ease pain and keep muscles from cramping. These are most effective when combined with physical activity and stretching.
Recent research suggests that therapeutic taping with KT (or kinesio tape) may reduce DOMS. This approach can also increase jump performance during recovery.
Massage seems to be the most effective method for reducing DOMS and muscle fatigue. Massage facilitates blood and lymph flow in the targeted areas to promote healing
Using compression garments can also help increase blood flow to sore muscles.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Research supports both heat and cold therapy for reducing muscle soreness. For cold therapy, apply ice to the affected area for 10-20 minutes.
If the soreness you’re experiencing is from a “pull” accident, or there is soreness in the joint and not the actual muscle, use extra caution, and consult a medical professional if you are concerned or the soreness doesn’t improve after a few days.