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Possible Causes of Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness

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Literature Review
Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) or what is commonly referred to as postexercise muscle soreness, is the sensation of muscular discomfort and pain (Lieber & Friden, 2002) that is caused by vigorous and unaccustomed resistance training or any form of muscular exertion (Kisner & Colby, 2012).Other symptoms that are commonly seen are loss of strength and range of motion (ROM) (Valle et.at. 2013). These DOMS symptoms usually start to be felt around 12-24 hours after exercise and usually last a couple of days but have been known to last 10-14 days. There has been a lot of research done on various aspects of DOMS, from what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it once it has occurred in an athlete. But unfortunately, very little is known about DOMS. Throughout this section, many aspects of DOMS will be reviewed. First, there will be an introduction of the etiology of DOMS and the many theories about why and how it occurs. Second, meauses that are taken in order to prevent DOMS will be discussed. Lastly, there have been many different approaches to treating an athlete with DOMS, with most of the actual benefits of these treatments being inconclusice at best, if not in some cases detrimental.
Possible Causes of DOMS
Muscle Spasm Theory
One theory that was thought to be the cause of DOMS in the 1960’s was the muscle spasm theory. This theory suggested that a feedback cycle of pain caused by ischemia and a buildup of metabolic waste products during exercise led to muscle spasm (Kisner & Colby, 2012). It was hypothesized that the buildup of these metabolic wastes caused the DOMS symptoms and an ongoing reflex pain-spasm cycle that could last for many days after (Vries, 1966). This theory has since been dispr...

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...d to myofibril damage in human muscles with DOMS: an ultrastructural and immunoelectron microscopic study. Histochemistry and Cell Biology, 121(3), 219-227.
Ayles, S., Graven-Nielsen, T., & Gibson, W. (2011). Vibration-Induced Afferent Activity Augments Delayed Onset Muscle Allodynia. The Journal of Pain, 12(8), 884-891.
Vries, H. A. (1966). Quantitative Electromyographic Investigation Of The Spasm Theory Of Muscle Pain. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 45(3).

Abraham, W. M. (1977). Factors in delayed muscle soreness. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 9(1), 11???20.
Jakeman, J. R., Byrne, C., & Eston, R. G. (2010). Efficacy of Lower Limb Compression and Combined Treatment of Manual Massage and Lower Limb Compression on Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(11), 3157-3165.
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