Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or "DOMS" describes the painful ache into your muscles that starts 24 -48 hours after completing any activity, exercise or sport.DOMS is a normal response when increased stress is applied to muscle tissue that it is not accustomed to.
With any exercise that leads to increased load there will be microscopic tearing into the muscles. Accompanying the tearing an inflammatory response starts which results in pain. This pain can sometimes peak 20 - 48 hours after exercising. Eccentric muscle contractions result in more DOMS when compared to other forms of resistance training. This is the lengthening action from any muscle in the body. For example, the lowering phase of a bicep curl.
The painful ache of DOMS will resolve as the microscopic muscle tearing heals and the inflammatory response settles. The bulk of the pain will gradually fade away after approximately 48hrs. The more that you complete a certain task the more accustomed your muscles will become and the effects of DOMS will lessen.
There are a few things to try which can lessen the painful ache of DOMS. These are as follows:
- Massage 24 - 72hrs following an exercise or sport
- Cold or Warm Baths after an activity
- Staying hydrated before, during and after an activity
- Adequate warm ups and cool downs
- Static stretching after completing an exercise or sport
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People who live with persistent pain often report how is affects everyday activity, including doing the things that really matter to them. People may manage this in a few different ways.
An example some people may get into a cycle of "boom busting". This is where a person may be "over-active" on the better day (boom) only to experience a set-back for the hours or days that follow (bust).
In time, some will notice that they become less active and perhaps need more time to recover from these episodes.
There are many reasons why people may do this. Such; a need to get the job done, a desire to not "give in", habit, or maybe because of expectations set by others and themselves.
"Activity pacing" is another way to carry out an activity. Pacing in its simplest form is actually doing an activity in shorter "chunks" and doing something different or even stopping before the pain "flares up".A "flare up" is an increase in pain that prevents you from doing any planned activity. It can last for hours or even days.
It may also involve prioritising and planning your activity too. For example, writing down a list of what needs to be done according to what's important, what gives you a sense of achievement and what you enjoy. A "must", "should", "could" list.Remember, it's also important to set time aside for periods of rest and relaxation too.
Activity pacing can also be a useful tool to slowly build up your tolerance to do more activity and / or exercise. To make a start with this, you need to work out your baseline.
A baseline is the amount of activity that can be done without flaring up your pain.Try to think of activities that cause your symptoms to worsen (e.g. walking, standing, exercising, etc) and consider how long you can perform each activity for without increasing your pain.
Finding a baseline can often be difficult as pain is not always predictable and can change from day-to-day. Therefore, to work out your baseline you may need to time yourself on both a good day and a bad day.
Once you've set your baseline, after a period of time you can begin to build on this slowly. A useful rule of thumb is to increase by 10-20%.
Whilst recognising the challenges and frustration with starting to pace, the overall benefits of pacing can mean that:
You can lessen the ups and downs of the boom-bust cycle.
It may offer a sense of control as you are choosing how much to do, as opposed to the pain.
Over time, it may allow you to be able to do more activity.
Pacing is providing you with another choice to allow you to work towards the things that matter to you.
If you would like more information of this or would like me to help plan a programme, please call Newcastle Integrated Physiotherapy on 0249572961
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Marnus grew up in a number of locations around Australia, before completing his Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle in 2019. In 2020 Marnus was based in the Port Macquarie region, where he learnt many manual therapy techniques.
Had an operation recently? Marnus is your guy! With a particular interest in post-operative rehabilitation, Marnus also loves seeing patients make progress after a musculoskeletal injury.
When he's not busy treating patients, you'll find Marnus walking along the Newcastle beaches, playing guitar or soccer, or learning to surf.
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We believe that you can implement new habits and set goals any day of the year, but here are our top tips for creating goals that will stick!
Setting vague goals is an easy way for you to forget or put off achieving your goals.
Have you heard of SMART goals?
Measurable: Used number-based goals to measure your progress. For example, I will exercise for 45mins three days a week.Achievable: Don't go from 0 to 100. You're more likely to hit your goal if it's attainable. Success breeds success, so the more realistic your goals are and the more you hit them, the more motivated you will be to keep going.
Relevant: Don't let someone else's New Year's resolution influence you. Your goals are for you, after all. Make them appropriate to suit your lifestyle and your needs.Time-Based: Setting yourself a specific deadline to achieve your goal will keep you motivated. I will exercise for 45 minutes three days a week for the next month.
In his bestselling book, Atomic Habits, author James Clear argues that implementing recurring habits and routines is the key to achieving your goals. He believes that setting goals doesn't lead to long-term change. Long-term goals can also leave you feeling unmotivated if you don't reach them.
You can read more about his advice for implementing systems that work for you here.
If your New Year's resolution is to read more, then try reading instead of scrolling on your phone while you drink your morning cup of coffee. It's all about making your goals as easy to achieve as possible.
Most of our goals are self-centred, so it's easy to feel alone in your journey. Find a friend or family member and keep each other accountable by checking in daily, weekly, or however often you see fit. You don't need to work towards the same goal, you just need to keep each other motivated.
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Luckily, we offer fibreglass casting. Gone are the days of dealing with a bulky plaster cast wrapped in a plastic bag every time you shower.
Casts have been used to treat broken and injured bones and joints for hundreds of years. Traditional casts are made using plaster, but in the 1970s medical professionals began using fibreglass; a bendable plastic material.
Fibreglass casts, however, have numerous other benefits. A fibreglass cast is lighter and more durable, giving you wide range of motion and allowing you to complete your daily activities more easily. Fibreglass casts are also known to produce less sweat and odour, which will leave your skin cleaner and less itchy. This is especially relevant during the warmer months or for active people.
Combining a waterproof lining and fibreglass cast allows you to shower, bathe, and swim as normal. Because fibreglass casts are lighter than traditional plaster alternatives, they're also easier to X-ray. This will make getting check-ups a whole lot easier for you and your Physio.
Fibreglass casts are highly durable, but you can take some extra steps to extend the life of your cast.
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