Lets say you feel fit and you exercise
on a regular basis. Why then do you feel sore from simply
lugging a suitcase, light work in the garden, or a casual
walk? Because you have the building blocks of fitness, (strength
and flexibility,) you might assume that you should be immune
to the soreness you experience from simple activities that
arent usual for you. The fact is, any type of unusual
exertion can leave anybody sore, even those we consider
to be models of fitness.
In addition to the kind of soreness we
experience from performing movements our bodies arent
used to, there is another kind of soreness that is a bit
sneakier. Think back to a time you pushed yourself farther
than normal in some physical activity. You probably werent
sore immediately after. You were most likely feeling okay
the following day. But 48 hours after the exertion, you
considered calling 911 for help getting out of bed! This
condition is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.
This kind of soreness is different from working out to the
point of simple muscle fatigue. Its different from
an injury, which you would most likely feel right away.
It is also different than mild stiffness from activity.
DOMS sneaks up gradually and lingers for at least a few
Recent research suggests that DOMS comes
from microscopic tears in the muscles or from the connective
tissues around the muscles. There have been lots of conflicting
theories about DOMS and the most effective way to treat
the symptoms. Following up with a milder version of the
sore-making activity can lessen discomfort. Some studies
show good results from massage, applying ice and heat, or
use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Other
studies did not support these methods. It cant hurt
to try any or all of these remedies. But the bottom line
is, it will take at least a few days for the muscle soreness
If you really are injured, a good measure
of the kind of soreness youre experiencing is to ask
yourself if it came on gradually. If so, it will go probably
go away gradually. If your soreness initially comes on sharp
and strong and persists for more than a week, be sure to
seek medial help.