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What Is DOMS and How Can Physiotherapy Help?

What Is DOMS and How Can Physiotherapy Help?


DOMS is short for a condition known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and it describes a phenomenon of muscle pain, muscle soreness or stiffness that occurs in the day or two after exercise. When you begin a new exercise programme or change your exercise routine, this muscle soreness can be felt.

The pain from this condition can be alarming to anyone who is new to exercise. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, however, is a completely normal response to exercising and it is part of an adaptation process. As you continue with your exercise programme and increase your stamina, the muscles recover and build. Muscle hypertrophy is a term that is used to define the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells. This condition most commonly occurs as a result of physical exercise, such as weight lifting.

What Causes DOMS?

The microscopic tearing of the muscle fibres causes Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The amount of tearing and soreness that you experience may depend on the type of exercise you’ve been doing and how long you have been exercising for. The main contributing exercises of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness are; running downhill, going down stairs, lowering weights, and the downward motion of squats and push-ups.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is not the same as the acute, sudden and sharp pain of an injury or the muscle fatigue that you experience during exercise. DOMS is generally worse within the first two days following a new intense activity and it slowly subsides over the next few days.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Our Chartered Physiotherapists here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic provide a range of manual therapy services, including deep tissue massage, which can be a very effective treatment for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The method of manual therapy helps to reduce tightness and soreness by stretching and elongating the muscles, which in turn relieves tension. Pain is then eliminated when tension is released from the muscles allowing normal movement and flexibility to be restored.

Trigger point dry needling may also be an effective treatment for treating the symptoms of DOMS, particularly when used post-exercise or as a regular addition to your training programme. Post-exercise manual therapy techniques will encourage the body to flush out waste products, which allows a faster recovery and you being able to return to training quicker.

If you wish to avail of more information regarding our manual therapy services, please contact us.

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