YOUR HEALTH and delayed onset muscle soreness

YOUR HEALTH and delayed onset muscle soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs as a result of predominantly eccentric contractions which may be made worse, especially if you are performing a new exercise. DOMS may be associated with muscle damage but, in many cases, other physiological markers indicating tissue damage are not present. Therefore, any prophylactic or therapeutic interventions alleviating muscle damage or physical discomfort can be considered effective if the concern is DOMS.

Confounding research findings have been attributed to varying exercise protocol and the data collection methods; studies comparing limb-to-limb have been proven to be the most effective. This article compared the DOMS, change in range of motion ROM, muscle strength, swelling, and biomechanical markers of 10 healthy young men and women following forearm movement. Participants were instructed to perform controlled forearm curls; three hours post-exercise subjects were given one 10-minute sports massage by a registered massage therapist. Markers found in the blood that indicate the amount of swelling were significantly decreased in the arm that had been massaged. Muscle soreness was also reportedly decreased up to 40% of that found in the control arm. There was no significant difference in muscle strength or range of motion indicating that the massage did not have a detrimental effect on gains in strength or motion of the limb.

Authors of the paper attribute the positive effects of massage therapy to the increased lymph flow; by decreasing the swelling in the area by means of lymphatic flow, there is decreased pain associated with swelling. This would decrease the amount of self-reported pain associated with a strenuous workout.

So after your strenuous workout, book your appointment to receive the benefits of massage therapy on your sore muscles!


J Athl Train. 2005 Jul–Sep; 40(3): 174–180. Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function. Zainal Zainuddin,*† Mike Newton,* Paul Sacco,* and Kazunori Nosaka*