DOMS is often felt in the 24-48 hour window following exercise. It’s different from acute muscle soreness that occurs immediately after physical activity.
During exercise, small micro-tears occur in the muscle tissue, more specifically in the muscle fibers. The pain and stiffness felt in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is from these small micro-tears. The body works to repair and adapt to the load of exercise previously placed on it. As a result, you may feel a dull ache or stiffness and tenderness in the muscles worked.
However, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can be reduced. It’s frequently caused by intense activity which the body isn’t used to. Thus, it’s important to stick to gradually increasing your exercise duration and intensity. Only increase by a little bit each time or every few weeks. And avoid taking on too much, too soon. Listen to your body and track your progress.
When you’re experiencing DOMS, it often gradually subsides within 72 hours. It also subsides in the long-term through repeated action of the same exercise. Activities that may further help reduce the pain and speed up the process include stretching, warm baths, foam rolling, and massage. In addition, light cardio may help get your blood moving and further quicken your recovery. In more severe cases, it may take up to 7 days for the pain, soreness, tenderness, and stiffness to disappear.