How good are sore muscles after exercise? 

Here are the facts about Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) 


That stiff muscle pain that makes you laugh and cry with satisfaction that your workout did something, that’s affectionately termed “DOMS”. 


DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a normal muscle pain that nearly everyone experiences after intense or unfamiliar exercise, often peaking as long as a day or two later.  If DOMs is interrupting your usual daily activities, below is a list of the DO’s and WHAT TO AVOIDs to help you feel back to normal.


Tl;dr = Move or Foam Roll if you want to make it feel better, but time will heal the discomfort best




This is the best option. Your body takes time to rebuild and repair your muscles. DOMS will get worse before it gets better, usually peaking on the day (or second day) after exercise. It is important that you are patient, and take care of yourself within this period.



Sleep is an important factor for tissue healing. If you don’t get enough sleep, you risk prolonging recovery. Make time to get adequate rest.


Keep Moving

Although exercise does not cure soreness, sitting for long periods of time will cause more pain and stiffness. Standing up and moving around during the day will decrease the risk of stiffening up and causing more pain. Did someone say back to back sessions? 


Home Techniques

Some light home techniques may help alleviate your pain and get you moving faster. These techniques may also help take your mind off the soreness:

  •     Foam Rolling
  •     Gentle Stretching
  •     Heat (i.e. heat packs or warm showers)
  •     Cold (i.e. ice packs or ice baths)
  •     Compression garments
  •     Light Massage


Whilst completing these exercises, it is also important to keep adequately hydrated. Ensure you are drinking enough water each day to fuel your body.


What if I’ve actually done some damage?

Strains, tears, sprains or other issues will typically know about during or straight after your activity.


What do I avoid?

Although taking pain medication (Advil, Nurofen, panadol) may be tempting to dull the pain, it also interferes with your body’s healing time. Ideally, pain medication may be taken in the short-term, however it is not a go-to strategy for dealing with DOMS. Avoiding extreme workouts that may cause too much stress to your muscles. Workouts like this can easily lead to injury if you are not careful. Instead, do a light workout, and know what your limits are. Slow progression is better than injury!


Still concerned?

If your pain does not decrease after 48-72 hours, or you’re still worried your pain is something more than DOMS, contact us or your local health care provider. 

References/for more info:

Read about other gym injuries

Read about sports injuries

Previous post on DOMS

Like we say, don’t bother with the ITB foam rolling: https://www.homebasept.com/tag/running-injury-prevention/


Dawson, B., Gow, S., Modra, S., Bishop, D., & Stewart, G. (2005). Effects of immediate post-game recovery procedures on muscle soreness, power and flexiblity levels over the next 48 hours. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 8(2), 210-221.

Luttrell, M. J., & Halliwill, J. R. (2015). Recovery from exercise: vulnerable state, window of opportunity, or crystal ball?. Frontiers in physiology, 6, 204.

Pearcey, G. E., Bradbury-Squires, D. J., Kawamoto, J. E., Drinkwater, E. J., Behm, D. G., & Button, D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of athletic training, 50(1), 5-13