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Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (Sports Hangover)

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) also known as The Exercise Hangover, usually occurs after you exercise strongly or following physical activity that you are not used to. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Symptoms come on 24-48 hours after strenuous exercise or physical activity which is unusual for you
  • Dull nagging ache in the affected muscle(s)
  • Soreness and tenderness when you use the affected muscles
  • Discomfort settles after 5-7 days

Description

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) also known as The Exercise Hangover, usually occurs after you exercise strongly or following physical activity that you are not used to. This is a normal reaction to a physical activity. Exercise puts strain on your muscles and strenuous exercise can cause small amouts of trauma to the muscle tissue causing it to swell and tighten. This build up of swelling causes pain and stiffness which usually peaks a day or two after exercising.

 This condition is particularly associated with 'eccentric' exercise, which is when your muscle fibres are lengthening during exercise, a good example of this is running or walking downhill.

Advice & Treatment

To lessen your chances of experiencing DOMS avoid prolonged sessions of unfamiliar exercise and make sure you gradually increase any new exercise or training session. Remember it can start with any unfamiliar or strenuous activity, whether it’s working in your garden, cleaning your home, washing the car or playing with the kids.

If you suffer from DOMS, gentle activity is best to improve blood flow to the muscle tissues. Ice, compression and elevation to the affected area can also help with recovery. Massage often helps to reduce the associated pain and tenderness and gently stretching the affected muscle eases tightness.

Go to the doctor if your muscle pain increases over the week especially if you begin to suffer from a rash or fever. Redness, excessive swelling, heat and poor circulation can indicate other serious medical conditions such as deep vein thrombosis or Infection.

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