Muscle Soreness (DOMS): 5 Best Ways to Relieve Muscle Pain Fast!

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in  August of 2020. For the original video go to:

Bob: Today we are going to talk about muscle soreness, DOMS. Delayed-onset muscle soreness. Five best ways to relieve muscle pain fast.

Brad: Right, Bob, we’re talking about soreness and muscles and sometimes this is the DOMS. You don’t feel the soreness until two days later! Which, if you haven’t exercised historically, you might say, “What’s going on? Is there something wrong with me?”

Bob: Right.

Brad: We’re going to explain all that and how to take care of it.

Bob: I wonder if Dom Deluise gets stopped.

Brad: Oh Bob! Why Bob?!

Bob: Ok, here’s one way you can get DOMS. You can get sore from working out with the bands that you have to buy that attach to our wall anchor.

Brad: Say no more Bob. I do want to say, I was on the internet and looking for research on muscle soreness, DOMS, and I found there’s information all over the place. There doesn’t seem to have anything narrowed down to a specific treatment and whatnot. So, these five things, I think, from what I read and from our experience in the past, and other books that we’ve read, they’ll help.You’re not going to do all five of them, probably, but you pick out one or two, possibly three of them and you’re going to get through this soreness. Again, the soreness often times will occur two days later. I still have that, and I’ve been exercising aggressively for over 25 years.

Bob: I’ve done some research on this too, Brad, in the recent past. I actually remember some of it.

Brad: Do we concur?

Bob: We concur. Also, what they found is that this DOMS can really decrease your performance. I mean, significantly reduce your performance. If you’re working out too much and you’re not listening to your body, you’re not helping yourself. You’re not making gains. You’re actually going the wrong way. It’s important to manage this. It’s important to understand this and it’s important to manage it.

Brad: So, when we talk about this muscle soreness after exercise, if you think about the muscle becoming sore, and this is not completely agreed upon either, but, typically they’re saying from microtrauma, there’s actually micro tears in the muscle tissues and they have to heal back up. There’s inflammation in there and possibly some swelling. We’re going to address this with that in mind to get these to heal up quickly so we can get back to our normal routine or as we progress, to get faster, stronger, whatever our goal may be.

Bob: You think it’s accurate to say, Brad, I think the research has shown this too, it’s often eccentric training that makes it worse, isn’t it?

Brad: I’m glad you brought that up because that was in one of the studies I was reading. In other words, the muscles are lengthening with resistance. You don’t have to understand that fully.

Bob: You’ll find out that if you’re doing plyometrics or something like that, oh my gosh, you can get sore on those things because you are loading the muscle as it is lengthening.

Brad: One good example, I was very fit, in shape, riding stationary bike all winter long, even running outside at the time. I went to the top of the bluffs where I live. It was a great workout. Coming down was more than just a two-minute descent, which is eccentric, particularly in the quads. I mean, I’m in shape, I go down there the first time, and I am so sore. It’s because of that eccentric running downhill a relatively long hill.

Bob: There’s a lot of ways that can occur.

Brad: How do you take care of this? The number one thing is very simple to do, hopefully is get some sleep.

Bob: It doesn’t cost you anything.

Brad: Get adequate sleep. At least 7 hours. If you’ve got muscle soreness, you may need 8 hours or more.

Bob: The most famous case here, and I’ve actually heard different number so I’m not sure which one is true, however, Lebron James, after a basketball game, 10 hours. I’ve even heard up to 12 hours that he sleeps. I don’t disagree with this, I mean, he is, you look at this guy, he’s 30 some years old and he’s still going at full speed. He rarely gets injured. I would guess that Tom Brady also puts in a lot of hours of sleep.

Brad: Yeah, and make sure it’s consistent and plenty of it.

Bob: It plays a larger role in your muscle development as the actual exercise itself. Do not discount this, sleep is huge.

Brad: Number two, cold packs. In therapy we use cold packs, hot packs, all the time. Particularly though if you have sore muscles, and they’re sore when you use them, they’re sore when you push on them, that’s the time to get a cold pack out. Put it on for 15-20 minutes.

Bob: If you’re a real masochist or is it a sadist? Masochist, you could actually get into an ice bath. I mean, I’ve never done that. Have you done that?

Brad: No, it’s not very convenient.

Bob: Right, to submerge your body.

Brad: I remember they said Reggie White used to do that before the games, for the Packers,

Bob. You know that team? They’ve won Super Bowls. You wouldn’t know it.

Bob: I just saw Aaron Rogers has tied the record or I think there was only one person that lost more NFC championships than he. Okay, we got to get on with this.

Brad: So, cold packs, probably not get hot packs for this acute type of pain. Number three, I like this one, I think it’s important it's active recovery.

Bob: I think it works well, I agree, it’s very important.

Brad: It’s really hard to do and if you’re really high intensity like I am. I can exercise on or off, but I’m getting much better at this. This is active recovery. Let’s say you’re a runner and you’ve run, you’ve done some hills, you’ve got DOMS, you’ve got muscle soreness, it’s important to either jog or just brisk walk. Low intensity. Very low intensity. You’re going to feel like, why am I even doing this? This is not getting me anything to be in shape. If you’re at the level, you’re probably at the right level. Then a shorter duration. If you’re running 30 minutes a day, you’re going to cut it down to 10-15-minute jog or a fast walk. Very slow. If you’re weightlifting, back off on the weights dramatically. Not 50%, but even more then that. You’re going to feel like, I’m not getting anywhere with this, why am I doing it? You want to increase the muscle or the blood flow to the muscle, get that lactic acid out, fresh blood and nutrients and oxygen in, without re-tearing those micro tears and making this chronic pain thing go on.

Bob: You’re going to just sabotage your gains. I think Brad and I have just anecdotally found that that’s one of the most important things we do. Give yourself a break.

Brad: Right! Take a break. Cut it way down. Not for a week, but for a day or two. Next one, number four is massage. Anything to increase the blood flow to these sore muscles is going to help decrease the pain and the soreness.

Bob: What I’ve found in the research that quite often if you actually do some foam rolling or massage prior to working out, they had good results with that. However, I certainly think it helps to massage afterwards too, again, anecdotally. It just seems to really make a difference with me.

Brad: One thing with massages, it’s come a long way in the last couple years. You can get a professional massage, very expensive and most of us are probably not going to take that route. If you can though, good for you. You can self-massage, like if you’re legs are sore, like my quads are sore, you just actually massage them yourself until your hands get tired. Get the blood moving if you kind of know what you’re going to do. I’m not going to demonstrate it here today, Bob, but the other thing that is very popular now, is those massage guns. We have one right here. They have become very popular and a lot of people are using them.