How To Tell If You're Too Sore After A Workout
Posted on May 26, 2022

How To Tell If You're Too Sore After A Workout

You just finished your workout and you are feeling sore. But you are asking yourself “Is this soreness normal?” Today we plan to help you determine if your soreness is too much to push through.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is described as soreness, muscle stiffness, reduced range of motion, less ability to engage in proprioception (sense of self in space) and swelling, along with loss of force-generation ability.  Thinking on ‘soreness’ has not changed a great deal since it was first described by Dr. Theodore Hughes in 1902. For DOMS, pain is not initially felt, it peaks about 1 or 2 days after with work out and then subsides. Usually, it is fully gone by 7 days. Ask Yourself These Questions

Is There Any Swelling?

Some swelling with soreness and stiffness after a workout are to be expected; however, significant swelling, inflammation, and warmth in an area may be signs of injury. Take these signs seriously and plan to extend your recovery period as necessary. RICE recovery is always recommended for these types of injuries. (RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation). RICE is a good basic treatment, but movement is needed for recovery as well. Your coach, personal trainer, athletic trainer or physical therapist should be able to guide you.  

If necessary, seek out anti-inflammatories. NSAIDs are well-known today to inhibit muscle healing and hypertrophy and should be avoided if possible. Dr. Warner’s Well Theory offers a number of natural anti-inflammatory alternatives to over-the-counter NSAIDs. Her favorites are the Tart Cherry Extract and Joint Health Multi. She highly recommends her CoQ10 Plus Gummies for post-workout muscle recovery!

What is soreness anyway?

For years, we have been taught that muscle soreness is due to the production of lactic acid or from microtears. Turns out, newer science has made these concepts obsolete. In fact, humans only produce lactate and this is a beneficial substance that causes many pro-health changes in the body when it is around.  So the ‘burn’ you might feel is likely related to lactate, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.  

The general consensus has been that the soreness felt after a workout is due to inflammation, connective tissue damage and muscle tears, muscle spasm and the lactic acid (again, actually lactate).  

Newer data points to entrapped tiny nerve endings within the muscle spindle that has swollen as a more likely source of pain. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is from minor damage to muscle spindle nerve endings more than from acute inflammation due to tearing of the fibers. This has been shown by Sonkodi et all in a 2015 scientific paper. DOMS is probably a combination of nerve entrapment, mechanical damage and immune-mediated inflammation.   Most coaches and trainers do not want their clients to have too much soreness after a workout.  This usually means that the exercises were done improperly and with poor form. During the work out, there is increased sympathetic nervous system activity and this increases blood flow and contraction strength - this leads to more nerve compression.

Do I Have Motion In All My Joints?

Are any of your joints catching, locking, or just giving out on you? You might have a cartilage injury. Cartilage has poor blood and nerve supply so there may be a delay in feeling the pain of the injury. It is best to rest if your joints all of a sudden become stiff. It is best to skip further workouts and to seek assistance from your doctor. Joint pain and joint injury is an entirely different discussion, but it is important to remember that most muscles have a joint involved and good joint health is coincident with good muscle health.

Is Part Of My Body Overcompensation For Others?

Is one side of your body bearing more weight than the other? Are you training one side harder than the other? The weaker areas of your body will be overcompensated for by the stronger areas. The human body and physiology is one of balance. Each muscle has an opposite muscle. The neural input from your brain runs in parallel pathways. For example, during the curl movement the biceps is told to concentrically contract while the tricep is inhibited. If there is poor balance between muscle groups, then obviously the homeostasis of the biomechanics are altered during a workout. This can lead to excessive soreness and an increased risk of injury. These imbalances might not be noticeable at first but their differences will slowly become more evident and more harmful. This is why proper form is paramount during exercise.  

When working out make sure you are engaging muscles across the body equally to prevent this form of soreness.

If you are not familiar with proper form for your particular goals, it is important to consult with a trainer, physician, physical therapist or other knowledgeable person.

Inflammation Support With Dr. Warner’s Well Theory

Dr. Meredith Warner’s Well Theory offers a number of inflammation support supplements, multivitamins, gummies, and topicals. These are her favorites, especially for post-workouts! Dr. Warner also endorses the use of massage and compression garments to reduce DOMS. Cold exposure is also effective, but should not be done immediately after a workout for hypertrophy.

Tart Cherry Extract - Tart cherries are flavonoid-rich, which helps to protect the body from taking on damage from free radicals. Daily supplementation can help to promote healthy joint tissue and alleviate painful symptoms of inflammatory conditions.

Joint Health Multi - This unique formulation contains 300mg of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving PEA. When combined with turmeric, ginger, and piperine, you get a daily dose of powerful, natural anti-inflammatories with no harmful side effects.

CoQ10 Plus Gummies - Flavonoid-rich, which helps to protect the body from taking on damage from free radicals. Daily supplementation can help to promote healthy joint tissue and alleviate painful symptoms of inflammatory conditions.

Pain Relief Recovery Cream - Our cream contains 8% PEA, giving this formula an extra kick to relieve fascia, muscle, and ligament pain. PEA naturally relieves pain and inflammation to help your muscles and ligaments recover naturally.

The Nervous System Multi - This formulation seeks to fully support the function and health of the nervous system, including the fibers within muscle spindles. This multi features Omega-3 PUFAs which are known to reduce inflammation and ROS associated with DOMS.