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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Post-workout Muscle Soreness? How Much is Too Much?

So your goal is to get a little healthier and you begin with an exercise session. Your first session goes great, and you’re proud of yourself.

That’s before you get so so bad that you can’t get out of bed the next morning. You wonder, “What happened? Did I do too much?” To understand that, let’s first understand DOMS.


The side-effect of muscular stress during exercise is muscle soreness. The muscle soreness is known as DOMS or Delayed Onset and is fully normal.

DOMS normally begins within 5 to 8 hours after a new activity. It could last up to 1 or 2 days after the workout. Muscle pain is one of the primary causes of muscle soreness. This is due to muscle inflammation.

The muscle soreness is delayed as it takes time for some physiological and metabolic processes to manifest as muscle pain.

DOMS pain is worse 2-3 days after intense exercise. The pain usually improves on its own after about 3 days. You will better resist DOMS by gradually building your training.

Causes of Muscle Soreness

Mild soreness after a workout session is usually not a bad thing. This is simply an example of the taxed muscle.

Stress on the muscles leads to the microscopic breakdown of muscle fibres, which can cause discomfort. This muscle breakdown serves a purpose. In that, when those fibres rebuild, the muscle is larger and stronger.

Few types of workouts could cause more sorrow than others. eccentric exercise, for example, generates more soreness when dropping the weight in a hamstring curl and descending, when it stresses the muscles.

Caption: Skeletal muscle fibers. Credits: Flickr

This indicates that the next time you work out, your muscles will be more suited for the pain.

You may experience muscle soreness after one of the following:

  1. Starting a workout program or exercise for the first time

  2. Adding a new exercise or activity to your workout

  3. Increase the duration of a workout, such as increased repetition numbers, increased weight or speed.

  4. Do the same work without enough breaks over and over again.

Several people develop muscle soreness, including professional athletes and bodybuilders. The good news is that regular muscle pain is a sign of strengthening. It isn’t a matter of concern. And, it sounds like a soreness of the muscles is fine. It can be tricky here, though.

The muscle soreness is mild to moderate and natural and harmless. High muscle soreness can, on the other hand, be dangerous and harmful. It is important to recognize the distinction between mild exercise-led muscle pain and excess or muscular injury pain.

How Much Pain Is Too Much?

If you do not perform everyday duties or tasks because of the pain you suffer, so the practice was too much.

Caption: Don’t let muscle soreness affect your daily life. Credits: Pexels

In addition, the workout was too much as the pain continues for over 3 days.

If you experience 1 or 2 weeks of the same soreness, you should visit your physical therapist to determine if there is neuromuscular or mechanical damage.

Also, chronic muscle soreness shouldn’t be ignored. It’s usually a symptom that the muscle isn’t firing properly within the chain, and muscle or tendon strain can result.

Always seek a professional’s guidance if you experience any of these signs.

Is Your Soreness the Normal Kind of Soreness?

It’s not natural if you feel soreness  before or after the workout. The soreness that happens after a workout is a sign of a fitness problem.

It should be considered a symptom that stops movement from the body prior to significant injury to muscles or the joint.

In multiple cases, the muscles wear down so much that you become very ill and cause damage to the kidneys.

Seek medical care after a training that induces muscle soreness if you feel something like:

  1. Severe pain

  2. Swollen limbs

  3. Restricted joint motion due to severe swelling

  4. Decreased production of urine or dark-coloured urine

Is Muscle Soreness A Good or Bad Sign of Working Out?

In a word, both.

Being sore, especially in a portion of a muscle that feels new is a great sign. It means that those dormant fibres are working and are responding.

However, if you’re sore in a part of the body that doesn’t normally experience muscle soreness, take note.

If it still feels that way after 3 days (the longest DOMS usually lasts), visit your physical therapist.

Foam rolling and massage can help with DOMS. Foam rolling can be uncomfortable, but it gets waste products from muscle and soft tissues like lactic acid.

However, don’t roll directly above joints or bones. Stick to soft tissue such as your hamstrings, calves and glutes.

Caption: Start your workout with simple exercises. Credits: Pexels

The best way to get rid of muscle soreness is to perform a few gentle exercises, such as light stretching or walking.

The more you walk the quicker soreness goes away, it can sound counter-intuitive. A hot bath or heating pad may also temporarily reduce the pain. However, ice gives better relief in the long-run as it helps to decrease the inflammation and swelling in your muscles.

Don’t think about quitting your exercise regime due to muscle soreness. Instead, give your best through the first few days without getting disheartened.

It will get better and your muscles will become stronger.

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