n International SportMed Journal - DOMS : an overview of treatment strategies : review article

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



The effectiveness of treatment strategies for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is examined.

Literature was located using PubMed, SPORTDiscus, ProQuest 5000 International, MEDLINE, and manual searches of publications since 1948. Keywords included in the searches were delayed onset muscle soreness, muscle injury, muscle strain, treatment, and eccentric exercise.
A total of 163 papers were reviewed. The criteria for paper inclusion were : proposed treatment of DOMS addressed; normal, healthy subjects were used; age, sex, fitness differences were not excluding factors; DOMS may have been discussed in relation to other forms of muscle injury; reviews of previous research were included.
A number of treatment strategies have been introduced to help alleviate the severity of DOMS and to restore the maximal function of the muscles as rapidly as possible. Post-DOMS exercise seems to be an effective means of alleviating DOMS pain; however, the analgesic effect is temporary. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have demonstrated dosage-dependent effects that may be influenced by the time of administration. Compression, magnetic exposure and hot packs have shown moderate success in treating DOMS symptoms. Massage has shown varying results attributed to the time of massage application and the type of massage technique used. Homeopathy, ultrasound, electrical current techniques, cryotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, stretching, acupuncture have demonstrated limited or no effects on the alleviation of DOMS symptoms.
Treatment attempts for DOMS are plentiful; however, there has been only limited success reported in decreasing the perception of soreness. There has also been limited success in reducing swelling, or promoting recovery of force production after muscle damage. Athletes should be encouraged to reduce the intensity and duration of exercise for one to two days following intense DOMS-inducing exercise. Exercises targeting less affected body parts should be encouraged to allow the most affected muscle groups to recover. Prevention is still the best "cure".

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