Muscle soreness that occurs because of exercise or strenuous physical activity is characterized by:
- Muscle stiffness
- Pain in the muscles involved
This usually occurs the days after:
- Any heavy or strength training exercise
- Heavy work which your muscles are not used to
Symptoms do not show up immediately but usually take a couple of hours to some days after the exercise (a delayed-onset of muscle soreness) to show. The intensity of pain is at its peak about 48 hours after the physical activity. Herbs and supplements relieve exercise-induced muscle soreness.
What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain and discomfort in your muscles appearing in the days following strenuous, unaccustomed physical activity.
With DOMS, the intensity of muscle pain and discomfort increases in the hours after strenuous activity, reaching a peak after 24-48 hours, and is generally resolved within a week.
The symptoms of DOMS include Pain and tenderness either throughout or in the distal portion of the muscle during palpation of the muscle or movement.
DOMS can occur with strenuous everyday activities as well. This means that they are not directly associated with sports or exercise programs only. It is likely that you must have experienced some form of DOMS once in your lifetime.
Athletes would likely benefit from a good treatment strategy for DOMS, which could help them to continue playing sports and reach their optimal athletic performance.
Any type of physical activity that causes unaccustomed and high loads on muscles may lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). All athletes whether Amateur or Professionals are concerned about muscle problems and pain. This is because these problems can limit further exercise and training activity.
It is not necessary, that DOMS only occurs after an unaccustomed and eccentric activity. It can happen to anyone with any type of activity that puts stress on your muscles more than it is used too.
Types of Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness
There are two types:
Acute muscle soreness continues for 4 to 6 hours and starts during the exercise.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness occurs 12 to 48 hours after any strenuous activity or exercise.
Exhaustive eccentric exercise is usually the main culprit for DOMS. During an eccentric contraction, repeated eccentric muscle contractions are responsible for inducing DOMS.
Contraction of muscles in these type of workouts can produce DOMS:
- Downhill running
- Jump rope
- Lowering phase of lifting weights
Main Symptoms in DOMS
- Muscular stiffness
- Pain during active movements of the muscles involved
Muscle soreness can really affect the performance of athletes, sports players etc.
Most Common Treatment Widely Used in Conventional Medicine for DOMS
Probably the most common treatment for DOMS used by most of the people is:
- Taking Aspirin
- Any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAID use has risks involved which can result in side effects such as stomach ulcers, liver damage, and kidney failure. Inflammation itself is a necessary part of muscle building and growth which occurs after the muscle injury. So it won’t be suitable to interfere with the body’s natural muscle-building process.
Interfering with this natural healing process could have subsequent side effects for long-term muscle health and recovery.
Different Treatment Strategies
There are many treatment options for DOMS which include:
- Conventional medicine
- Herbal remedies
- Nutritional supplements etc
For a natural treatment with effective pain relief and minimum side effects, all of these play a vital role.
“Instead of treating DOMS, gradually adapting the muscle to stressful exercise maybe the best treatment strategy“
Several treatment options such as Muscle Compression, Yoga and Light muscle activity are used to reduce the symptoms of DOMS. Herbs and supplements for muscle soreness are a great way to get relief from this problem.
Other options that may benefit DOMS are:
- Laser therapy
- Nutritional supplements
Herbs and Natural Supplements for Prevention and Treatment of DOMS
Athletes and people with tough and physically demanding jobs take herbs and supplements for muscle soreness. Many herbs have been discovered which alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. People are increasingly seeking herbal remedies to relieve pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness.
Top herbs and natural supplements for the prevention and treatment of muscle soreness are:
Saffron has been traditionally used in ancient medicine to cure various diseases. It contains powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Taking around 300 mg/day of saffron for 7 days before and 3 days after exercise has shown great benefits.
Turmeric is very good for reducing pain and inflammation. The most important chemical component of turmeric is curcumin. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has similar anti-inflammatory effects to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen.
Caffeine has great benefits in relieving DOMS. If we take around 200mg of caffeine, this will help a lot with our DOMS.
Ginger has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is very effective in the treatment of muscle soreness. Herbalists use Ginger for the treatment of pain. Adults who consumed ginger for 11 days had less muscle soreness after lifting weights.
Cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 420 mg of cinnamon taken every day for a week before exercise and three days after training, was found to be very effective for DOMS.
The leaves of Black Tea contain Theaflavin, which is produced during the fermentation of black tea. Taking a black tea extract could speed up the recovery process and reduce muscular stress and help DOMS.
Pomegranate juice will really help you in overcoming your DOMS pain. This juice has shown a significant reduction in DOMS symptoms in a study conducted recently.
Chamomile has sedative, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a muscle relaxant. It is helpful in reducing muscle soreness.
Watermelon is a fruit rich in l-Citrulline. It is full of vitamin A and C. Watermelon Juice can reduce muscle soreness.
It was found in a research that fresh tart cherry juice reduces the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage. Tart cherries have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic is very good for fatigue. Taking this herb helps you manage chronic fatigue and systemic fatigue due to cold. The recent studies strongly suggest that garlic may be a promising anti-fatigue agent thus help in DOMS as well. You can easily take garlic in supplement form.
Herbal medicines are becoming increasingly popular because they have little to no side effects. We can easily buy herbal medicine in most countries. Always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting a herbal supplement plan.
In the light of the available documents in relation to the effectiveness of natural products on DOMS, most researchers seem to favor the application of herbs in the prevention and treatment of DOMS. Currently, no intervention strategies exist for preventing DOMS, except evidence of preventive effect of 10 day supplementation with 300 mg saffron (Meamarbashi and Rajabi, 2014 ). Therefore, the most potent alternative is to treat the sign and symptoms when complaints occur. Due to the unknown pathology of DOMS, the unique alleviating method is not present. Hence, the effectiveness of therapeutic procedures is mostly dependent on the reduction degree of symptoms and signs and the duration of its effectiveness in combination with minimum possible side effects.