We’ve all felt it, whether we’re active or not. Those sore, aching muscles after running around or doing some heavy lifting around the house. It’s not a good feeling and for some, it’s a reason they don’t work out. Depending on how much you did the day before and how accustomed your body is to being active will affect the days to come. Exercising, whether lifting weights or running, is a way of life for some people. The question is, should I rest or keep exercising? When it comes to weightlifters and runners, they find themselves often wondering if they are doing more harm to their bodies by not resting. It’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short. There are many studies on the effects of the body and whether resting is needed or rather pushing through it. One of the main sources I see when it comes to fitness is Bro Science. No, Bro Science is not a scientific study, per se, but evidence, as shown from a person who has experienced a result that they feel is now concrete evidence. When it comes to DOMS, there is not a shortage of information according to Bro Science. The fact is that Bro Science is not a good factor for understanding DOMS and how to effectively go about managing it. I myself have not done actual research on the topic other than reading some magazine articles. By doing this research project I hope to learn the truth. Does stretching help recovery time, could supplements target the problem and help relieve the pain, what is happening during DOMS, and is it harmful to the body by staying active while recovering? These are answers I will seek throughout this process. The discourse communities I spend my time exploring are talking about this subject constantly. Some people say resting and giving the muscles that recovery time is when the muscles will start to grow. Others say you must push through the pain and the soreness will go away faster. I intend to bring a scholarly view to this community. I will research peer-reviewed journals and find the truth, at least the most fact-based truth available at this time. It’s a hard-headed group of people, all feeling as though their results speak for everyone. This won’t be an easy task, but with real scientific evidence and a viewpoint people can understand, I do feel I can change some opinions.


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS, we’ve all felt it, those painfully sore muscles after a workout. We don’t have to just deal with it anymore. This isn’t a post with Bro-Science information, don’t worry. I have included fact-based scientific results. Sure, some of it won’t be feasible unless you have a gym with a cryotherapy cold-water immersion bath but there will be information we can all use as well. Delayed onset muscle soreness can hurt. It can hurt really bad, but it doesn’t stop us. We see it as a means to show that we are really pushing ourselves. A sort of battle scars of the victor. The pain feels like success. Though for the uninitiated or the people who aren’t that passionate about it may not feel the same way. As I said, it hurts a lot, and a way to suppress that pain is, well, in my opinion, worth it. I will discuss treatments for DOMS as well as a way to see DOMS through Infra-Red Imaging. Treatments I have found consist of cryotherapy, multi-enzyme complex supplements, and nutritional intervention. As stated in the article, “The Use of Thermal Infra-Red Imaging to Detect Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness,” there definition of DOMS is an “exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD), is commonly experienced in individuals who have been physically inactive for prolonged periods of time, and begin with an unexpected bout of exercise, but can also occur in athletes who exercise beyond their normal limits of training.” Jerrold Petrofsky and his team of researchers from Loma Linda University and Azusa Pacific University set out to investigate the use of thermal Infra-Red imaging to view the changes in skin temperature as a result from DOMS. With this study we can begin to detect the level of soreness to the muscles. I won’t bore everyone with the statistical numbers, but I will say that during the experiments the outcomes were as experienced by us all. Day one, sore and day two, very sore. However, the difference here was that it wasn’t only a spoken level of soreness, but they were able to visually see how sore the muscles were each day by use of the thermal infra-red imaging. Why is this important? Imagine being able to visually see the damage to your muscles. We would be able to know exactly the level of damage we are experiencing from the workouts or physical activity we are doing and receive just the right treatment for that level of damage. The researchers who performed these tests feel that this study will help with future research in discovering ways to treat or prevent DOMS. Cryotherapy is essentially cold therapy. This can include cold-water immersions or ice baths and also a cold compress on the sore muscles. Many physical therapists and athletic trainers use cryotherapy for athletes to get them back to training faster. Cryotherapy according to the review article, “The Effect of Post-Exercise Cryotherapy on Recovery Characteristics,” has been used for decades. This is a tried and true method for getting athletes ready to train again quickly and healing their ailments. Resting the muscles after an exercise is important to allow the muscles to heal. However, this resting can be cut in half with the right treatments. The review states that the temperature should be in a range between 5°C and 13°C for 10 to 24 minutes. The study showed that cryotherapy does effectively treat symptoms due to DOMS whether using a cold bath or cold compress. This is a great way to get back to your workouts faster or for athletes who have a short turn around period between games. Multi-enzyme complex supplements are used to treat DOMS. In the study called, “Multi-Enzyme Complex for the management of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after Eccentric Exercise: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study,” the researchers test a multi-enzyme complex called DigeZyme. DigeZyme consists of five digestive enzymes, alpha-amylase, neutral protease, cellulase, lactase, and lipase. The results of this study were a success and multi-enzyme complex supplements were shown to improve the pain and tenderness associated with DOMS. After reading this study I recommend taking DigeZyme to treat pain you may have from working out. You can actually find these supplements on The study also mentions how anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen has a potential to impair the healing process from DOMS. However, the study was in no way studying ibuprofen but maybe it would be a good idea to avoid using it from now on. In the review titled, “A review of nutritional intervention on delayed onset muscle soreness,” it was discussed that proper nutrition will help prevent or at least reduce the effects of DOMS. Caffeine, Omega-3 fatty acids, taurine, and polyphenol were included in this study. Each of these was shown to reduce the effects of DOMS. Drinking coffee or taking caffeine supplements after exercising is a great way to reduce pain associated with DOMS. The caffeine, as stated in the article, is shown to block adenosine receptor, deactivating the central nervous system and effectively reducing DOMS. Fish oil is another good nutritional supplement used for treating DOMS. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acid is helpful in treating the sore muscles. The study showed that eating foods containing around 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acid 30 days before working out could successfully reduce muscle soreness. Omega-3 fatty acid was said to be more effective at reducing the inflammatory response versus the oxidative stress in DOMS. Taurine is another nutritional intervention used in the study for treating DOMS. When combining 2 grams of taurine and 3.2 grams of BCAA’s or branched-chain amino acid, there was a significant decrease in the effects of DOMS. It was shown to reduce superoxide radical production drastically. Taking taurine for twenty-one days was shown to reduce DOMS as well. Taurine can be found in dairy, meat, and fish as well as energy drinks. The final nutritional intervention in the study was polyphenol. Polyphenol is found in pomegranate, cherries, and blueberries. Each of these was effective at reducing DOMS. You work out at the gym and go home feeling great. You lifted more weight than ever before and are so proud of your accomplishment. You conquered the world and tomorrow you’re going to go back and do it all over. However, your body has a different plan. If you’re tired of “feeling the pain” and walking down stairs backward because it hurts just a little less than forward, and you need a way to help get back to your regular activities, please take this advice. Nutrition is extremely important. Those nutrients in your healthy diet can help tremendously as well as multi-enzyme complex supplements. And don’t forget your cryotherapy, those cold compresses will make a world of difference.