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DOMS vs. aches and pains

DOMS vs. dolores y molestias

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. This is when your muscles feel sore or stiff for a few days after you exercise. But is it any different than general aches and pains? And how can you tell the difference between the three? We explore exactly that...


What is the difference between an ache and an ache?

Aches and pains are often used interchangeably, but is there a difference between the two? Well, as for their literary definitions, there are some slight variations. The Medical Dictionary defines pain as an "unpleasant sensation that is transmitted to the brain by sensory neurons. Discomfort indicates actual or potential injury to the body."

While they describe a pain as "continuous pain as opposed to sharp shooting or stabbing" and that "a pain may be dull and constant," as with some types of back pain, or "throbbing," as with some types of back pain. Head and toothache.


What causes DOMS, aches and pains?

The cause of DOMS is complex, but it is thought that certain types of physical activity can trigger it. Specifically eccentric exercise, which is when the muscles and tendons in your body lengthen. This type of pain is also believed to be the result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers (also known as small tears in the muscles) after exercise.

You may have heard that lactic acid buildup causes DOMS, but this is not the case. Instead, DOMS appears to be a side effect of the repair process that occurs after exercise-induced muscle damage.

The cause of general aches and pains can vary and can be triggered by things like stress, sports injuries, or viruses like the flu. But it is thought that regardless of the type of pain, inflammation or the inflammatory response appears to be involved.

Due to the different causes of DOMS, aches and pains, it is possible to experience all three at the same time.


What is the difference between them?

The key difference between DOMS and aches and pains is what causes them, the area they affect, and the duration. As we mentioned above, DOMS is caused by certain types of exercise, it only affects the muscles and is always temporary.

However, the causes of general aches and pains are much more varied. Unlike DOMS, pains include joint pain and stiffness, which can be caused by a variety of different conditions and injuries. If you are concerned about your symptoms and would like further advice, visit your GP.


How can you know which one you are experiencing?

If you have started to feel sore, stiff, or sore 12 to 24 hours after exercise, you are probably experiencing DOMS. And if it goes away within two to five days, that's another sign that it's DOMS. If you haven't exercised recently and feel sore or stiff, chances are you're experiencing aches and pains caused by something else. Again, it might be worth seeking help from a medical professional in this case to help find the cause.


What can be done to prevent DOMS?

If you want to try to keep DOMS at bay in the future, there are a number of different techniques you can try. These include things like:

  • Get some caffeine : Great news for coffee lovers, some studies have shown that consistently drinking caffeine in the days after exercise can reduce DOMS.
  • Staying hydrated : A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that being dehydrated during workouts can exacerbate DOMS symptoms, although this was done in a very hot and humid environment and only used male participants. Just remember to stay hydrated and take breaks to stay fresh.
  • Massaging muscles : Some studies have shown that massage and using foam rollers can be effective in keeping DOMS at bay and promoting muscle recovery.
  • Use a gradual training plan – Exercise that you are not used to can cause you to experience DOMS, so a gradual training plan with a good warm-up and cool down can help.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Simple but oh-so-effective, making sure you're getting enough sleep can also help support the prevention of DOMS.



How can DOMS symptoms be controlled?

With DOMS, your symptoms should go away in two to five days without needing medical attention. But there are some things you can do to help manage the pain, including: 1

  • Using ice packs
  • Massage painful areas
  • Do some light stretches
  • Take pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications if necessary

If you think massage is the best route for you, you can do it with your hands or a massage gun for ease.

Additionally, if you experience DOMS after each training session, you should consider revising your training plan to include a few lower intensity days that do not lead to DOMS.


How can aches and pains be controlled?

It goes without saying that if you are concerned about your aches and pains, or if you have had them for a long period of time, you should speak to a medical professional. The National Health Service (NHS) lists the following self-help steps to give you some relief:

  • Gentle exercise : Simple movements like walking, swimming, or dancing can help relieve some of the pain by directly blocking pain signals to the brain.
  • Breathe well : When you are experiencing severe pain, it is easy to start breathing short and quickly, which can cause dizziness and anxiety. Instead, try breathing slowly and deeply to help you feel more in control and keep your muscles relaxed.
  • Educate yourself – Another way to help you feel more in control is to use the Pain Toolkit or the British Pain Society's information on pain management.
  • Try counseling : Some people find it helpful to talk to a counselor, psychologist, or hypnotherapist about how to deal with pain.
  • Distract yourself : Sometimes focusing on something other than your pain can help, such as getting caught up in a hobby or enjoyable activity.
  • Prioritize sleep: It can be difficult to sleep at night when you are in pain, and lack of sleep can make you feel worse. Therefore, try to be consistent with your sleep routine and keep daytime naps to a minimum.
  • Socialize : Spending time with your friends and family is great for your health and can help you feel better.
  • Try some relaxation techniques : Constantly practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation can help reduce persistent pain.



Do you feel a little more informed about DOMS and how it can affect you? We hope so. The key takeaway here is that DOMS only lasts a few days and only affects the muscles, rather than causing joint pain. For additional helpful guidance like this, check out our bone, joint, and muscle supplements and wellness portal while you're here.














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