Let’s Talk DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is the term used to describe micro-tears throughout your muscle fibres. This is generally caused when you involve yourself in a new, unfamiliar or increased intensity of exercise.

For example, upping your weight in your pump class, letting your friend Max run you through his new personal training session or your cousin Sarah taking you on a 10km bush walk because it will be “fun”. DOMS can start to creep up on you from 6 hours after your workout, and can last up to 72 hours after depending on your body, your recovery and the workout itself.

Tears…that sounds pretty serious; but no need to worry. Hypertrophy, (aka your muscles increasing in size) can happen as a result of these micro tears across your muscles. However, it is important to note that DOMS is not the only way to gauge if a workout was successful or tough enough. There are other factors that can influence muscle hypertrophy, and therefore feeling those tight, aches and pains the following two days are not necessary if gaining muscle is your goal.

So what’s the difference between DOMS and an injury? Well, usually an injury is fairly immediate. If you notice pain during or straight after your workout, it is important you stop and seek professional advice. Some injuries may take a while to “rear their ugly head” so if you’re still in pain after the 72 hour mark (or if you have any suspicions before then) it is important you seek professional support from your physio or doctor. Ongoing pain can also be due to an overuse injury, so don’t be afraid to take a rest day (or week!) if needed. After all, if you continue to push your body when it needs a break, you run the risk of ruining future workouts and causing permanent damage.

Alright, I can move as much as the tin man after that last session – what should I do?! If you’ve got yourself a severe case of DOMS, the following tricks can help:

  • A warm, relaxing bath (some enjoy a bath bomb or salts)
  • A slow and steady walk to release some tension and help blood flow to the tears
  • Foam roll and stretch gently, remember pain is an important indicator so use her wisely

If in doubt about the pain you are experiencing, ensure you seek professional advice from your physiotherapist or doctor. The team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy are experienced in a range of areas including rehabilitation and injury management. Get in touch with the team today by calling (02) 4721 7798, by emailing info@progressiverehab.com.au or by booking an initial assessment here.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.