Can a EMS Machine help with DOMs Pain Relief?

By Med-Fit UK Content Team  .  Last Updated Monday, 12th July 2021

Do you feel constant pain after a brutal workout?

There is a misconception about sore muscles that they are a healthy sign of a good workout.

But sometimes sore muscles and workout quality never go along very well. It means you are too hard on yourself or you are trying new exercises.

Even though muscle soreness is not a necessity, it can overhaul you. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can give you a burning sensation when your muscles rebuild and recover. But, if you focus on the post-workout exercises, you can go hard.

What is DOMS / Muscle Soreness?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), often colloquially referred to as 'muscle fever', is characterized by a discomforting, achy sensation in the muscles following intense and unfamiliar physical exertion. This phenomenon is believed to stem from transient muscle damage and inflammation, predominantly triggered by eccentric exercises, as seen in cases of exercise-induced muscle damage. DOMS is categorized as a type 1 muscle strain injury, manifesting with an initial pain-free interval of 12-24 hours, followed by a peak in muscle soreness between 24-72 hours.

Muscle pain, medically known as myalgia, serves as an indicator of potential injuries, infections, illnesses, or other health-related issues. This pain may manifest as a consistent deep ache or sporadic sharp twinges. The distribution of muscle pain varies, encompassing general discomfort or localized sensations. The perception of muscle pain is highly individualized, with diverse experiences across individuals.

Muscle pain can affect individuals of all ages and genders. Engaging in novel physical activities or altering exercise regimens can lead to the occurrence of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The onset of muscle soreness might be observed around six to 12 hours subsequent to a workout, persisting for up to 48 hours. The discomfort is indicative of the muscles undergoing a healing and strengthening process, resulting in the sensation of pain. Although, it can persist beyond the normal 48 hours - even lasting around a week!


The Most Common Symptoms of DOMS are:

  • Stiffness

  • Increase in tenderness

  • Fatigue

  • Dehydration during workout

  • Less motion in the affected joints and muscles

  • Swelling

    What types of injuries cause muscle pain?

    Engaging in repetitive movements either at work or during exercise can lead to the development of muscle soreness due to overuse.
    Additional forms of injuries that can result in muscular discomfort encompass

    How do I relieve DOMS (muscle soreness):

    1. Warm-Up: Warm-ups are essential, especially before weight training. Many people head straight to the weight rack once they hit the gym. This habit can lead to severe DOMS. The reason is your muscles are not ready for this instant weightlifting. Moreover, it can also lead to a ligament pull or a muscle pull during a workout session.

      So, before doing a heavy weight workout, do some heart-pumping exercises or a warm up. Some warm ups are skipping or jumping jacks. This prepares your muscles for the brutal workout.

    2. Electric Muscle Stimulator (EMS): EMS uses electric impulses. This evokes the muscle contraction in the body. The EMS machines function by placing the pads around the damaged skin. Then, the muscles contract with the passing of an electric current. This improves the flow of purified blood.

      Adding EMS to your daily exercise routine can be a bonus. So, if you want to get rid of the sore muscles, EMS should be your next gadget. This can also help you focus on your training and healthy recovery.

    3. Stretching: Stretching is the best thing after a brutal workout. The muscle fibers get shorter after rigorous training. This causes the muscles to contract.

      An Australian study proves that stretching does not impact the muscle soreness. It does not even hurt if the flexibility is minimal.

    4. Caffeine Consumption: Studies prove that caffeine consumption before a workout can reduce muscle soreness. It can also reduce fatigue. Drinking coffee makes everything better. Caffeine possesses pain-killing properties. It is also considered under an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication.

      Tip: Drink two cups of coffee an hour before hitting the gym workout. It keeps you hydrated like water. This is essential else it can result in dehydration, one of the symptoms of DOMS.

    5. Massage: According to a 2014 study, a massage post-exercise can reduce pain. A regular massage may help in improving the body's immune system in fighting DOMS. A 2015 study shows that massaged muscles contain more blood vessels. Thus, they improve recovery.  

       Tip: Immediately schedule your message post workout. This promotes tissue generation and reduces fibrosis. Such sports massages provide effective results.

    6. Painkillers: Some painkillers like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen help reduce sore muscles. However, the relief might become pricey.

      You must always consult a doctor or your gym trainer before consuming painkillers. Also, a regular intake might cause some side-effects.

    7. Eat Tart Cherries: Tart cherries are rich in colorful antioxidant compounds and anthocyanins. They decrease excess inflammation. Most athletes and marathoners consume these before days to avoid muscle soreness. These cherries also help in muscle function and recovery.

      Tip: Good nutrition provides antioxidants during regular training. But for an extra boost, you can add juice and tart cherries to your regular diet. Along with nutrients and protein-rich diet, a couple of servings of tart cherries per week can be good.

    8. Favor Fatty Acid: Inflammation is a significant reason for sore muscles. To reduce this, consume foods which are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Some natural sources of fatty acid are avocado, salmon, flax, walnuts, and meat. They have properties which help get rid of soreness after exertion.

    9. Foam Roll: Foam roller can massage your sole muscles thus reducing pain. This can significantly reduce DOMS. Start with your calves and then target the upper body.

      You can give at least five rolls to each muscle group. To get quick relief, you can spend some extra time on the sore spots.

    10. Heat Therapy: Apply a heating pad after the fitness session. This can loosen the sore muscles and stimulate blood flow. 

      Regular heat therapy can speed up recovery and reduce pain.


    Other Recovery Tips:

    There are plenty of other pain-relieving techniques which athletes and professional marathoners follow. Some of them are- ice baths, cold compresses, and Epsom salts. A hot shower bath can also help sometimes. But if the pain is severe and has become a hindrance to your regular activities, then you must visit a doctor.

    Hope these tips help you in reducing the pain from sore muscles and a speedy recovery!