DOMS Effect (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is pain that you feel hours after physical activities. Most pain can be felt after 48 hours. Learn about DOMS Treatment below.

The reason we feel pain is that in training we are damaging the muscle fibers, making micro-trauma.

After a while muscles adapts to these strenuous activities, therefore preventing muscle soreness and pain.

They call DOMS effect muscle fever.


Individuals describe symptoms of DOMS as a dull ache. The pain develops 38 – 72 h after the workout. Muscles involved in workout will feel very stiff.

DOMS can also manifest as muscle strength loss (short-term). Reduced range of motion and swelling. On the bright side, when you will move, the stiffness will wear off for a time being. Major symptoms of DOMS are:

  • Limited range of motion, caused by stiffness
  • Swelling feeling in muscles that have been physically active
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Sensitive feeling in muscles that have been affected
  • Dull muscle ache
  • Soreness lessens when you are using the muscle group that is affected by DOMS
  • Muscle Fatigue

Sometimes the pain can be so intense that DOMS effect can be mistaken for muscle strain or actual injury.

How Is It Diagnosed? 

Your best bet is to consult physiotherapist that is an expert in the diagnosis of DOMS. It is diagnosed by excluding any significant injuries, muscle strains or ruptures. Ultrasound is unreliable in the diagnosis of DOMS. However, it can diagnose bigger muscle tears.

DOMS is a clinical diagnosis. 


DOMS should be treated mainly with active rest and ice. In one of researches they have proven it that applying heat on back muscles can also reduce the pain. Wearing compression clothing also has been proven to reduce duration of DOMS.

During recovery phase, avoid exercising. It is because muscles have reduced capacity to cope with shock absorption, altered muscle recruitment patterns, reduced strength balance and contraction intensity.Active rest is your best bet along with applying ice on muscle that is affected by DOMS.

Research finds that applying heat on back muscles can also relieve the pain:


  1. Massage will reduce the severity of DOMS
  2. Avoid stretching while being under DOMS effect
  3. Do not exercise during this period, focus on recovery
  4. Riding a bike can also reduce DOMS affect

Preventing DOMS

To minimize DOMS affect on Your body You should follow these steps :

  • Do a warmup routine before the exercising. Increase blood flow to the muscles and loosen up them. This will directly reduce chance of getting an injury or muscle soreness. Cooldown are equally important.
  • Stretching after the physical activities.
  • Remember that if you haven’t been involved in physical activities for a long period of time, then you should start slowly with lower weight and lower rep count
  • Do a light 10 minute cardio after the workout
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get enough Sleep
  • Sufficient nutrition consisting of enough proteins, carbs and fats
  • Wear compression clothing for workouts. As You workout muscles can get inflammed. Furthermore, it can lead to swelling. Wearing compression clothing will reduce fluid buildup which will prevent swelling of Your muscles.

Does DOMS Mean That My Muscle Are Growing?

We can link DOMS with muscle growth and repair, however We can’t measure how much stress We should put on muscles. However, it is important to note that DOMS can cause reduced strength.

And this muscular strength can linger even after the DOMS has ended. Therefore, You will gain less muscle than You would normally. So Our answer is – No, DOMS will not aid in muscle growth.

Is It OK To Exercise With DOMS?

Short answer is – Yes, you can. However, it will feel very uncomfortable. When You have warmed up the body, DOMS should be gone. However, DOMS will return when muscles will be cooled down again.

If You feel uncomfortable, You should just wait till the soreness is gone. Our suggestion is – train muscle groups that are not affected.

Does Ibuprofen Help With DOMS?

Ibuprofen and Naproxen can reduce painful symptoms of DOMS. However it will delay healing process by disrupting inflammatory process.

Is DOMS A Good Sign?

Muscle Soreness doesn’t equal to good workout. Any muscle soreness that is lasting longer than 5 days could mean a muscle tear. So in fact it is opposite of what You would want. DOMS can make even doing regular house tasks difficult.

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