How Do I Treat Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

Dec 2, 2015Case Study, Clinical Trial, Healthy Volunteer

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is muscle pain or stiffness that occurs approximately 24 hours after an intense, exercise-induced physical activity. Some medical and exercise professionals also refer to it as “muscle fever.”

Some of the symptoms of DOMS include:

  • Dull aching pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation
  • Pain disappears approx. 7-10 days later

Contrary to the recent popularity of “bootcamp” workouts and hardcore training regimes for marathons, triathlons, and other “ultra” type exercises, DOMS isn’t a new discovery in the world of physiology. It was, in fact, first listed in 1902 by Theodore Hough, assistant professor of biology at Simmons College in Boston.

What causes DOMS?

Intensity of exercise, not length, seems to be the main factor of DOMS. Although it is not completely understood, DOMS results from minute tears, or microtrauma/damage, in the muscle. In the past, sore muscles were thought to be merely lactic acid build up, but that’s no longer the theory.

Eccentric—or lengthening—exercises seem to be the root cause. Inflammation fluid then flows to the damaged areas for protection. Subsequently, this inflammation fluid pushes on the nerves causing pain in the swollen muscle.


Despite the pain you may be feeling, easy exercise may help alleviate the pain. This low-intensity exercise may also help to increase pain tolerance if/when you continue to participate in the activity that made you sore. Additional tips include doing anything that increases blood flow to the area like:

  • Heat
  • Massage
  • Securing the area with therapy tape
  • reIce baths

It’s also recommended that for future activity, you stretch and warm up your muscles. But don’t over do it. Be gentle and easy on yourself.

DOMS study
If you are healthy and between the ages of 18–40, you could be chosen to be part of an investigational study on a patch designed to relieve muscle pain and soreness. If you would like to learn more about this no-cost study available in Salt Lake City, Utah, please follow the link below.

If eligible, you may be able to take part in an investigational DOMS study conducted by JBR Clinical Research. It’s possible that, if selected, you could receive:

  • ¥ Complimentary pain medication
  • ¥ Compensation up to $800 for time and travel

Space in this DOMS study is limited. To see if you are a match, please fill out and submit the form at Jean Brown DOMS Study.

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