Sports Massage: The Effect On DOMS

September 3, 2018

The Problem


Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is possibly the greatest plague among gym goers, sports people and athletes alike. When it aches for you to sit up in bed in the morning, there is a satisfying feeling that your workout yesterday, or even the day before, did its job well. As a reward you can feel that achy pain in your muscles. In a way, this pain is quite cathartic. A feeling that I associate with good effort in the last session. But when you can’t move properly, you can hinder your training or even performance if you’re near competition. Smashing a great squat session then not being able to squat properly for days afterwards, even crouching down to pick something off the floor can feel counter-productive. Sticking with this example, it will also be painful to walk up and down stairs, and sometimes sitting down can be a painful task in itself. Your quads, calfs, hamstrings and glutes will all be achy and uncomfortable. Sports massage is supposed to be able to relive pain and tightness so let’s take a look and see if it actually works.


What is DOMS


There are many proposed reasons for DOMS, it is a complicated issue, one that I would associate with the natural inflammatory response from normal healing. Some researchers would agree as it’s also been associated with a grade 1 muscle strain. This is less than 5% of fibres being damaged, so it really is not something to worry about. This is part of the body’s mechanism for getting bigger, stronger and creating other positive adaptations to our muscles. So as above, people who are actively training for sport or to look better will generally suffer from DOMS at some point in their lives. One of the possible reason for DOMS being muscle damage means we can measure it both directly and indirectly. I must stress here, that muscle damage does not equate to pain and pain does not equate to greater damage. However, little bits of both are signs that you will see positive change as this will show the body change needs to happen.


Not moving into certain ranges is a problem that can be cau