Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a common cause of pain after a workout. The pain from DOMS can often last for several days, and nothing has been found to consistently prevent it although there are precautions that can be taken. Knowing the signs and symptoms of DOMS can help differentiate it from an injury, which is more damaging to the body. There are several treatment options, but only a few that are widely recommended. If you are experiencing severe soreness, or if the soreness lasts for more than seven days, contact a doctor.
The soreness that results from DOMS usually sets in 24 to 48 hours after exercise. In addition to pain, DOMS can also present with symptoms that include muscle tenderness, stiffness, loss of strength and swelling, according to researchers at the University of New Mexico. Not all the symptoms are present at the same time, and you may not experience all of the symptoms. The pain usually peaks after three to four days and goes away after three to seven days. Stiffness and swelling can last the longest, sometimes not disappearing until 10 days after a workout.