What Causes Muscle Soreness?

Updated: May 4


A lady doing plank

Have you ever wondered why you feel pain or soreness the next day after hitting the gym? Maybe you tried out a new exercise, or you upped the weight on your bench press, either way, you may be suffering from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (also known as DOMS).


DOMS can reduce your range of motion and muscle strength, making everyday activities a source of pain. Working out your muscles during a gym session causes them to tear and become inflamed with increased blood flow. When the muscles regrow and heal those tears, the muscle itself gains mass. This means DOMS is a great sign that you’re improving and getting stronger!


How long does DOMS last?

DOMS can last anywhere from one to five days, and symptoms typically occur within the first 24-48 hours. The pain can range from mildly annoying to so severe you won’t want to leave your bed. Muscle soreness should not be confused with other types of pain like sharp pain from an injury or sprain. If you find that your pain or soreness persists past five or more days, you should consider contacting a doctor or chiropractor near you.


How can I reduce the discomfort from DOMS?

There is no solution to completely get rid of DOMS, but here are some tips that may ease the pain:

  • Try doing light exercise like yoga or light cardio the next day after an intense workout

  • Stretching before and after a workout helps muscles warm up and can also reduce the effects of DOMS

  • Be sure to get enough sleep, more so if you go to the gym often

  • Apply ice packs to the affected area


Is there any way to prevent DOMS?

A good way to prevent DOMS is to introduce new exercises gradually. This gives your muscles time to adjust to new movements and strains, which should minimize soreness. Warming up before your workout and stretching may also help prevent DOMS. Stretching is also great for preventing injury and improving your range of motion.


Should I continue to exercise with DOMS?

Continuing to exercise with DOMS is safe, although you know your body’s limits best and should use your own discretion. Your muscles may feel tight and sore in the beginning of a workout, but after warming them up the soreness should recede. Alternatively, you could simply just rest until you are no longer sore. Or you could work out other muscles that aren’t sore.



If after reading this article, you are still concerned with the effects of DOMS, you should contact a chiropractor here in Victoria, BC. Chiropractors can help you manage the pain or muscle soreness you are feeling by conducting a thorough assessment on your body. We can provide pain management strategies that do not require the use of pharmaceutical drugs, either through stretches, massage or other manual treatment options. If the type of pain you are feeling is due to something more serious than DOMS, a chiropractor can refer you to the appropriate medical professional.


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Dr. Mike Hadbavny

Chiropractor, Sports Sciences Resident RCCSS(C)

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can be effective for your particular condition or health goals, contact Dr. Mike Hadbavny at 250-881-7881 today to make an appointment and discover the many benefits of seeing a chiropractor in Victoria, BC. Contact us today.

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