Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: How to get rid of DOMS… and what the hell IS it anyway?
What Is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?
DOMS is a common affliction that affects most individuals participating in an activity their body isn’t used to.
This could be simply hiking, jogging, walking or cycling, but it’s also something that affects individuals new to weight lifting or those who have taken a few days off from it.
It can be characterized by tenderness in the muscles, mild pain when flexing the affected muscles and it can even be as severe as debilitating pain in some rare instances.
In essence, DOMS is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles paired with broken down muscle fibres and inflammation causing your muscles to become sore for 2-3 days depending on the severity and your fitness level.
There’s really not too much you can do to avoid getting DOMS but there certainly are effective ways to greatly reduce its incidence.
Pro-Tip: Check out this awesome video by Jeff Cavaliere explaining what it is and some other details:
The Best Way to Get Rid of DOMS
Well, you see, there isn’t technically one singular way that you can get rid of it.
However, there are 3 basic methods you can use to greatly reduce DOMS.
Combining all three of them will allow you to ensure you get the most out of your DOMS reduction efforts.
Here are my personal three recommendations to get rid of this pesky condition. Make sure you stay tuned for the whole article because I will go through each of them in more detail with you below.
- Active Rest
- Rest by itself
- Massage including chairs, massage therapy, self-massage and more.
- Bonus Section: Best devices to help you out with muscle soreness
As you can see, there is no one singular way to effectively rid yourself of this disorder, but you can certainly have a better chance of eliminating it by doing a variety of different things.
Relieving DOMS in Your Upper & Lower Body
When most people think of how to get rid of DOMS, I’d argue that at least half the time you would think of your legs including quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Thinking of how to get rid of DOMS in the leg muscles is the same as any other muscle group.
Legs are some of the biggest muscle groups in your body so finding an effective DOMS-relief technique could be very useful.
However, your upper body also makes up a large portion of your body so understanding how to prevent and treat DOMS is critical for your entire body.
In my honest opinion, one of the most effective ways I have found to improve post-workout soreness and stiffness is to simply go outside for a walk (or hike if you have time).
I’ll cover this in more detail below, but really quickly: Moving the target muscle group around by doing some light exercise is one of the best ways for DOMS relief.
Pro-Tip: Here’s a great video on active recovery by Workout Warriors:
You might also want to try:
- Bodyweight squats
- High-knee kick-ups
- Push ups
- Pull ups
- Australian rows
And, of course, just make sure you’re not overdoing it because, as you may know, rest and recovery are two of the most important factors in getting bigger and stronger so you don’t want to mess with that!
Do a few light sets, maybe 1-2, 10-12 reps each and then call it a day.
As you know, muscles require oxygen to live just like anything else in our body, and the way they get oxygen is through the flow of blood.
Therefore, if you simply take 15-20 minutes when you are experiencing muscle soreness to get some blood moving around in the problem areas.
I have found this to be extremely helpful and I am almost certain you’ll find it helpful too!
Getting Rid of DOMS With Rest
It’s probably no surprise to you that rest plays a crucial role in pretty much anyone in the world.
Everyone needs rest for their bodies and minds to recover, and using rest to reduce muscle soreness is no different.
I’ll keep this part pretty short since there isn’t much to say here, however.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that muscles and body tissues do the most repair to themselves during rest which could mean not exercising and sleeping so it’s no surprise that rest is one of the most beneficial things you can do for muscle soreness.
Using Massage & Massage Chairs to Relieve DOMS
For a small subset of people, muscle soreness presents itself as a severely debilitating condition lasting for 3 days or more.
Special note: I should mention at this point that, if for whatever reason you have extreme pain, please go see your doctor and do not simply trust the fact that it’s probably just DOMS.
However, for most of you out there you can probably assume it is just a case of muscle tenderness and soreness.
CAN MASSAGE HELP WITH DOMS?
Massage is a great way to iron out tight muscles and provide your body with more oxygen flow in the form of blood throughout problem areas.
There is one caveat though – sometimes your muscles will be so sore that it will feel impossible to sit through a full massage without crying like a little girl on All Hallows’ Eve that got her candy taken away from her!
Pro-Tip: Check out this video by Livestrong on how massage can help you alleviate your DOMS.
WHAT ABOUT MASSAGE CHAIRS?
Well, what I can say about massage chairs is that sometimes they can provide you with a much better and less painful experience than a dedicated massage therapist albeit for a much higher up-front cost.
There are, however, massage chairs you can use at your local mall that you can pay a buck or two for about 5-10 minutes worth of massage.
Would I recommend it? Probably not as some of the above techniques have offered me better DOMS-relief results than massage, but it may work for you.
- 【SL-track Technology】 L-tracks are all the rage in the industry and the RL900 massage chair has one! It boasts a 50" roller track length. The design of the roller system allows for the rollers to actually hit the gluteal and pirifomris muscles, in many cases helping some sciatica issues.This feature extends the back rollers down under the buttocks and to the hamstrings, to provide a much more comprehensive
- 【Zero-Gravity】The positioning was designed to minimize the stress on the low back from traditional seating. The 30 degree tilt of the seat and the 120 degree angle between seat and chair back have revolutionized the seat positioning in massage chairs.Not to mention the relief it will give you if you have low back pain.
- 【Shoulder Width Adjustable&Leg Stretching】The electric massage Rollers are adjustable for different shoulder width, it measures 1.57" to 8.27" with 3 levels. Then the calves massage part can stretch to 4.72" to fit for different body height.
- 【6 Auto Program& Airbag Massage 】Featuring 6 automatic massage programs with gentle yet firm massage rollers and air massage for your shoulders, arms,thighs & calves. Manually choose from 3 targeted massage areas, 3 massage speeds, and 3 levels of airbag massage intensity so you get relief for the areas you need it most.
- 【FootRoller &Bluetooth】Mechanical Foot Rollers - Rollers under your feet rotate forward and back to stimulate your reflexology zones. You will feel like a new person after this experience.BlueTooth Connectivity - You can connect your phone or device to the Lohas and listen to your playlist over the chair's speaker system.
- Exclusive ergonomic armrest linkage system, embedded arms clip, arms feel comfortable while reclining
- Press the zero-gravity button, feel virtually weightless, the reclining angle can be adjusted. 4 preset auto programs, diverse massage choices.
- 8 massage back rollers, foot rollers massage,50 airbags placed all over the shoulders, arms, hips, legs, calves, and feet, full body pain and tens relief.
- Timer up to 30 minutes, height limit; 6.1 foot, weight limit: 400 pounds. Built in heater to waist and feet.
- Easy to assemble, airbag and rollers massage speed intensity can be adjustable.
- EFFICIENT FUNCTIONALITY: Equipped with 5 pre-programmed massages, 9 intensity levels, and 2 modes to knead the upper and lower back, thighs, and calves
- COMFORTABLE DESIGN: A double-padded backrest with soft cushions on the armrests, seat, and ottoman provides optimal lounging comfort
- REMOTE CONTROL: A wireless massage controller lets you conveniently switch massage settings without moving and store it away in the built-in side pouch after use
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Crafted of easy-to-clean faux leather and a sturdy metal frame, this massage recliner and ottoman set is built to last for years to come
- CHAIR DIMENSIONS: 27"-46"(L) x 29"(W) x 41"(H); Chair Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
Foam Rollers & Osteopathy
CAN FOAM ROLLERS AND OSTEOPATHY BE USED EFFECTIVELY?
In terms of foam rollers, this can be somewhat similar to massage chairs and massage itself, but you get to control the pressure and where to use them.
Foam rollers provide you with a very gentle and controlled ability to massage out problem areas of your muscles using rollers, balls and other similar type of devices.
These can be amazing at relieving pressure and really loosening up the muscles and making them much less sore so I’d highly recommend learning more about those as well!
You can grab yourself one of these awesome foam rollers from Amazon if you want to find out more about how much they cost and what other people are saying about their effectiveness.
Lastly, how about osteopathy? Well, similar to massage, osteopathy might provide similar results so you would have to give it a try and see for yourself quite honestly.
- An Amazon Brand
- 12.75 inches x 5.25 inch diameter , lightweight yet rugged solid core EVA massage roller with triple grid 3D massage zones mimics the finger , palm , and thumb of a therapist's hands . Travel friendly at just 1 lb .
- Medium density muscle roller is comfortable to use - making it easy for beginners , but still effective at penetrating the soft tissue layer of tired muscles . Soft enough to use while in pain from lower back injury , sciatica or plantar fasciitis .
- One of the best recovery tools to treat muscle pain , increase performance and flexibility. Rolling before and after exercise sis part of a great stretching routine . Increases blood flow to massage site , flushing away stored lactic acid .
- Stretch overworked and strained muscles of the leg , arms , and feet by rolling during your warm up and cool downs . Provides instant benefit to the hamstring , IT band , glutes , and calves by delivering superior massages at home or in the gym .
- Loved by runners , Exercise athletes , yoga and Pilates students , swimmers , physical or sports therapy patients , and those just doing a normal fitness workout . Great for the arch of the foot , and any part of the body but the spine or neck .
- FOAM ROLLERS FOR MUSCLES - LuxFit High Density Foam Roller is great for Physical Therapy, before or after Exercise, Yoga, and Massage Therapy. Foam Muscle Rollers helps to relieve Muscles Tension and increase Muscle Reflexology. Form Roller. Body Roller
- FOAM EXERCISE ROLLER HELPS PREVENT MUSCLE INJURY - Perfect for positioning, balance, postural and muscle re-education, spinal stabilization, body awareness and coordination, ranging and strengthening activities. Yoga - Fitness Foam Roller. Foam Roller for IT Band
- EXTRA FIRM GYM FOAM ROLLER - Molded polypropylene foam technology has a 2 lbs. per cubic foot density, Smooth surface, Will not lose its shape after heavy use, and Repels Liquids. Trigger Point Foam Roller. Stretching Foam Roler
- 4 SIZES AVAILABLE FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS - 36 Inch, 24 Inch, 18 Inch, 12 Inch. 36 Inch foam roller is our largest size. Black Foam Rollers are great for Back Pain and Back Exercises. Great for core stabilization, balance, and stamina. 6 Inch wide Round Foam Roller.
- FULL 3 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY - MADE IN THE USA! - with Free Online Instructional VIDEO - Using your own body weight let the faom roller do a MyoFascial release to provide Maximum Relaxation Relief. Deep Tissue Foam Roller Massage. Foam Roller for Back. Leg Roller. Exercise Roller
Related: Body recomposition for men and women
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
So we know I’ve thrown tons of information at you today but we want you to take something important away
from this: there are ways in which you can mitigate DOMS and a combination of two or more of the above is ideal.
Use active rest combined with actual rest for quick and effective relief from DOMS, and resort to massage, foam rollers or massage chairs for an even better effect.
If you find yourself having debilitating soreness you can certainly implement any of the above strategies to effectively help you recover and use any combination you desire!