With preconceived notions of becoming Cameron Diaz or Tom Cruise, you jump into a strenuous exercise regime, without having your fitness assessed and your muscular strength measured. After a sincere and strenuous first exercise session, you feel good. You are on the path you started on with full zest. Thanks to ENDORPHIN rush! Next day, you don't make it to the gym! Hey‚ what happened? You are down with Muscle Fever. The scientific name of this condition is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
What is Muscle Fever?
It is a condition (side effect) in which the muscles are tired after 24 - 48 hours of sudden unaccustomed physical activity. The patho - physiology of soreness depicts minor tear to the cell membrane as well as the muscle fibers and the connective tissue. The muscle soreness depends upon the intensity of muscle contraction and frequency, duration and type of muscle activity.
Causes of muscle soreness:
- Sudden embarking on a strenuous exercise regimen
- Unaccustomed pressure on the muscles while exercising
- Change of exercise regimen
- Inflammation to the muscle
Symptoms of Muscle soreness range from tenderness to debilitating pain. The most affected muscles are the lower limb muscles after strenuous weight training / aerobic exercise. For e.g. Amateur marathon runner
Tips to deal with annoying DOMS
- Normally the pain subsides within two to three days without any special treatment.
- Involve in to very low intensity exercise program to keep moving your blood circulation. Light cardio for 10 minutes followed by stretches will help to reduce muscle soreness.
- If pain is associated with swelling, apply ice pack/ice cubes wrapped in the towel to the area of pain for 7- 10 minutes. If possible, keep affected area in elevated position for 2-3 days.
- If the pain persists for more than 7 days, it is better to take advice from doctor
Tips to prevent DOMS -
- Start your work-out with five minutes of on the spot walking or marching at moderate intensity. Else you should warm up the muscle you want to work on. Warming up is a must for people starting exercising after a long gap
- Divide your exercise regimen into:
- Strength training + flexibility exercises for three days/week
- High intensity aerobic exercises for the remaining days
- Progressively increase the intensity and duration of your exercises
- Make sure that your exercise regimen is designed by your physiotherapist or a certified personal trainer
- Before starting your exercise protocol, make sure that you have undergone complete physiotherapy assessment
“Don't try to walk before you can crawl
From the desk of your Health Manager - Dr. Khushboo Bhagat