No matter how well prepared for an activity we can often find ourselves feeling stiff or sore 1-2 days following activity. This is called delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS); this explained is simply the damage of muscle fibres and inflammation following unaccustomed intense exercise.
DOMS commonly occurs in sports and movements that use eccentric contractions more so than concentric contractions. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle lengthens under load, for example, a footballer trying to change direction quickly will eccentrically contract the quadriceps to maintain stability. Eccentric contraction produces a force over a smaller cross-sectional area of the muscle, this is due to the smaller motor unit recruitment during this contraction.
Following a bout of vigorous exercise, DOMS is likely to occur unless you have developed your training programme to build up intensity over time. However, there are ways that you can help yourself. Firstly, having a sports massage can help; this increases the circulation of blood to the area, whilst an active recovery can also help. What you will find is that pain will increase 24-hours following exercise, with this pain usually peaking around 48-hours post exercise.
You can become more accustomed to the demands of your activity through training. It is key that you understand this is a natural process to occur and is actually a good sign. This muscle soreness represents the muscle becoming stronger than its previous state in response to an effective training session.
If you would like a sports massage to aid your recovery from DOMS, feel free to book in so we can help you be pain free.