It’s your first time back in the gym or your trying a new workout and you just crush it, it’s almost like you didn’t even take time off from working out. But within 12-48 hours you experience muscle soreness that feels like you were just hit by steam engine. We have all experienced this type of muscle soreness and while this phenomena isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is important to understand what is causing the soreness.
The knowledge of the human body has expanded along with the understanding of what causes delayed onset muscle soreness “DOMS”. Originally it was thought that lactic acid, in excess amounts, was the cause of delayed muscle soreness. But the levels of lactic acid return back to normal one hour after exercise, this was found to not have any correlation with the muscle soreness.
Next thought process was, the delayed soreness was caused by an inflammatory process. The soreness though, does not replicate the natural inflammatory response which typically responds to a threat instantly. If the inflammatory response was the reason, you would experience soreness within minutes of working out.
Today we are able to directly correlate the delayed soreness experienced with small micro tears in muscle’s cell membrane, the outermost layer of the cell, allows chemicals inside of the cell to leak out into the bloodstream. Gradually the chemicals accumulate and this sets off your pain receptors in the body. This is why you wake up the next day with new or increased soreness.
Since you haven’t worked out in a while or haven’t done a particular workout, your body and muscles are susceptible to more micro tears because the muscle membrane is thinner. Once your body becomes familiar to the movements in the workout, there will be less micro tears and less soreness because the muscle membrane has thickened. If you are sore or experience tightness over many days after your workout, then you more than likely suffered an injury. Don’t let this injury persist, seek out an expert to accurately find and fix your problem.