What Can We Do to Relieve DOMS?
There are a number of ways to alleviate those "can't-make-it-up-the-stairs" symptoms from your last workout.
A sports massage is one good way to reduce the effects. A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body, which can help heal the microtrauma in your muscles better. A study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found massage to be beneficial with both gait and feelings of post-workout soreness.
DOMS Can Be Treated by Foam Rolling, Contrast Showers, Salt Baths, Increased Protein and Omega-3 Intake, and Sleep
Other common ways to treat DOMS include foam rolling, contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold water), Epsom salt baths, increased protein intake (to increase protein synthesis) and omega-3 supplementation (to reduce inflammation), and naturally, sleep! New research in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that supplementing with saffron may also help to alleviate DOMS. Regardless of your preferred Rx, look at your diet and make sure you are taking in nutrients to help your body heal. Find a diet that can really help you feel the best that you can feel!
When to Worry about Soreness
There may be situations when you overdo it with your workout and feel bad. Like, really bad. But when should you be concerned?
Your level of soreness should significantly decrease after 72-96 hours. If your severity of soreness continues past the 96-hour mark, the pain becomes debilitating, or if you experience heavy swelling in your limbs and/or your urine becomes dark in color, you should see your doctor. If it's an injury, you're more likely to feel it immediately during your workout— something that should never be ignored. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually and often the next day. An injury will likely limit your range of motion and last longer than three days.
When all is said and done, DOMS shouldn't be avoided or revered. And it shouldn't be the only gauge of your level of fitness or strength! Some think the only part of their workout that matters is the hard part. Keep in mind that you can do even more hard training overall if you are being safe and taking the proper time to recover after each workout. Long-term, you will build more muscle, strength and endurance if you give your muscles a chance to take a deep breath and recover.