We have all heard the saying ‘no pain, no gain’- often from coaches, trainers or sports enthusiasts themselves.  It is used to motivate and push people beyond their limits to become even ‘better’ at what they are doing. Be it a team or individual sport, we all train with the goal of ‘being better’. 

After a tough training session, where you have pushed yourself beyond your limits, you may experience some form of muscular pain. This is known as delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and usually occurs 24-48 hours after exertion.

You may struggle to get out of bed the next morning due to sore, painful muscles. This muscle soreness occurs due to micro tearing happening in the muscle fibers when we engage in exercises that we are not accustomed to. Scientists believe that it is through this microscopic tearing that our muscles become stronger and adapt to the exercise. Most of the time a rest day or two, a light training session and a good massage will help to decrease the pain and you will be back to training at maximum potential within a few days.

It is however important to distinguish between DOMS and more severe muscle pain.  When muscle pain is caused by factors other than DOMS, more serious injuries can occur if not treated correctly. Muscle pain caused by DOMS will subside after a day or two of rest and some time for recovery. However, if the muscle pain prevents you from doing either your daily activities or even a light form of exercise for more than three days, more serious injury to the muscle should be investigated.

Often, a more severe pain is a sign of tears in the muscle fiber that is more significant than the microscopic level of DOMS.  If the athlete then treats the pain as DOMS, more serious injury may occur.  These include greater muscle tears, a complete tear of the muscle or serious strains of the muscle.

We believe that rest is one of the greatest recovery aids. Even for muscular pain caused by DOMS, we recommend a day or two of rest. However, if muscle pain is experienced after a regular training session or for more than 48 hours post unaccustomed exercise, we would recommend additional rest to allow the body the chance to repair itself where needed. Together with rest, we also recommend an effective sports recovery massage. 

Another great remedy for sore and painful muscles is that of heat. Deep Heat is an excellent product that can be applied directly to the painful muscle area.  The heat will increase the blood flow to the affected area and therefore bring more oxygen and nutrients that are needed for healing of the muscle. Lactic acid and other byproducts will be carried away faster with the increased blood flow.  With the use of Deep Heat, we still recommend extra rest as this allows the body the chance to focus on healing the injured muscle.

It is therefore important to distinguish between muscle pain and pain caused by DOMS. More serious muscle pain must be treated with extra rest and remedies as serious injury can occur if training begins too early. Use Deep Heat Topical Cream for the additional benefit of enhanced heating to the area. And remember… pain is not always gain.

Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts