577 Burnhamthorpe Road, Unit 1
Etobicoke, ON., M9C 2Y3

Grayscale image of person getting a back massage - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) blog post

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

You’ve made the decision, commitment and effort to pick up the intensity of your workouts or to simply start working out and two days later, bam – the agony of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) hits.  Every staircase, every time to have to sit down or get up from sitting, even rolling over in bed can seem like an impossible task that ought to be avoided (if you could).  Understandably, we ask why we are so sore and of course, we question if working out can really be good for us if this is how we feel afterward.  It is tempting to thrown in the towel and go back to the couch or to less intense workouts but we know, if we want to be able to do what we love to do now and in the future we need to challenge ourselves.  Allow us explain why DOMS happens and how it will stop. 

Mild muscle pain can be a natural side effect of any kind of physical activity and this is especially so when you have started a new routine. It generally occurs between 24 and 48 hours after you’ve completed your routine.  The soreness experienced is because of small microscopic tears that occur in the muscle. It is your body’s mechanism for adapting your muscle to strengthen it.  In the majority of cases, the symptoms will often ease after 72 hours but the length of time that the soreness is felt varies from person to person.   Having DOMS means that you are sore after your workout, but it isn’t a bad thing; it is an unfortunate stepping stone in the right direction. Conversely, some people in the “no pain, no gain” mindset see this pain as a badge of honor. They believe that if you’re not in pain then you’re not doing enough…this is not true. After starting a new routine, you may feel some soreness 24 – 48 hours afterwards. But if you are still sore three days after your workout, then you’ve done too much.


There are a number of ways you can alleviate the pain that is making you dread the sight of stairs. Studies have found that a sports massage is one good way to reduce the effects. It will move the fluid and blood around in your body which can help heal the microscopic tears in your muscles. Another way to treat DOMS is to complete a light workout. Like a massage, this will increase blood flow to help speed up the muscle repair. Some common relievers also include foam rolling, alternate temperature showers (keep flipping from hot to cold) or epsom salt baths.

When thinking about whether or not you’re going to the gym today and the pain you may have after, think about the benefits you will gain. Also remember when performing the right exercises in the correct intensity, (sets, reps, weight, time under tension) you will have minimal soreness and still benefit.  It may take some practice to find out the right amount of sets, reps, and weight to use for your workout to get the most out of it and that’s why we’re here. Life Force Physio has a great gym program and our experienced staff create a program that is appropriate to your current fitness level and safely bridges the gap between where you are today and having the physical ability for the fun activities you want to continue forever.  Join us for some fun and exercise to become the best you!

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Life Force Physiotherapy
577 Burnhamthorpe Road, Unit 1
Etobicoke, Ontario, M9C 2Y3

Tel: 416 207 9395
Fax: 416 207 3862
Email: info@lifeforcephysio.com

Physiotherapy Clinic Hours:
Monday to Friday 6 AM - 9 PM By Appointment Only

Physio Supervised Exercise Program Hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 12 PM - 7 PM
Tuesday and Thursday 8 AM - 2 PM

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