No pain, No gain – right?

I’m sure each and every one of us has experienced muscle soreness or what is known as DOMS – (delayed onset of muscle soreness ) at some point in our lives. A few of us endure a little bit of muscle soreness on an almost daily basis but is the old saying “no pain, no gain” true or is it an outdated fitness notion?!

It’s not entirely conclusive why or what causes DOMS, lactic acid, muscle & connective tissue damage, muscle spasms and inflammation, or a combination of them are all said to be culprits but what we all know is that awful feeling one or two days after exercise is real! Yet how much pain is actually necessary to warrant an effective workout and how can we manage DOMS when we experience it?

Part of my job is to help clients manage and recover from injuries, imbalances and weaknesses and it’s fair to say these clients are probably already in some degree of pain and that is what they seek relief from. So the thought of adding to that with exercise which will in turn create more pain can be off putting and deter people from the very thing that’ll help in the long run.

It is always best to build things up slowly in terms of load, intensity and repetition, as this gives your muscles and the surrounding fascia time to adapt in a way that never causes DOMS that is so intense it is debilitating.  

What can be done from home then to alleviate DOMS? Well much like the cause, the treatment strategy isn’t always exact, so some experimentation may be needed.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when taken at the the right time offer good results, as does massage, when done with correct technique & again at the right time.

Ice baths have become a popular treatment if you’re brave enough and lighter activity on the days in between your workouts known as active rest has proved useful; and quite simply don’t forget to always stretch after every workout.


– This article has been published in the July edition of Life Magazines –