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Why Are You Sore Days After Exercising?

If you have recently started a different workout routine that is causing you to be sore not just the day after but days after a workout, we can explain why. The classic Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is an exercise-related muscle pain that sets in 6 to 8 hours after excessive or new, unaccustomed exercise, and peaks around the 48-hour mark. It is not surprising to find people complaining of aching muscles a day or two after exerting themselves in the gym, or after a dramatic increase in the duration and/or intensity of their exercise.

Cause of DOMS

While the exact cause of DOMS has not yet been discovered, the pain synonymous with DOMS is triggered by muscle strains. The trauma results in an inflammatory responses. The tearing of the muscle fibers is also associated with swelling in the muscle, which may contribute to soreness. The swelling can build up for days after a workout, and explains why the muscles soreness may feel worse two to three days after the workout.


A dull muscular ache localized to the involved muscles that develops 24 to 48 hours after a new or strenuous exercise are classic symptoms . In addition, the muscles may feel stiff and tender. Passive stretching will increase your symptoms which is a reason for the feeling of stiffness. Short term loss of muscle strength, reduced joint range of motion and possible swelling of the affected muscle groups are other possible symptoms of DOMS.


Don’t worry, the muscle soreness should go away in 3 to 7 days without any special treatment. However, if you want to accelerate healing and recovery, massages have been found to be effective in doing so.
Research has shown there are preventative measures you can use to reduce DOMS after a workout. These measures include:

  • Warming up prior to exercising
  • Modifying workout intensity and gradually building it up
  • Cooling down thoroughly following your workout
  • Stretching after a workout, allowing your muscles time to relax
  • Foam Rolling
  • Heat, whether it be a bath or a hot pack it can help you get back to feeling good faster

However, if you have taken the measures mentioned, and are finding the pain persisting for more than 7 days, you should consult with a specialist at our clinic.

Taylor Candela 

Cambrige Physiotherapy & Rehab Center

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