DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is a common phenomenon marked by muscle pain ranging from mild to debilitating and manifesting 24 to 48 hours after your workout. Besides muscle soreness, other symptoms of DOMS include loss of strength, decreased range of motion, decreased neuromuscular function, mild inflammation and an increase of two to three pounds or more in body weight.
The tearing of muscle tissue and the rupture of muscle cells initiates an inflammatory response which peaks 24 to 36 hours after exercise. As a part of this response, the hormones ADH and aldosterone cause the kidneys to retain water. After a few days balance is restored and water weight is eliminated.
Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, like ibuprophen has been a common practice for treating DOMS. However, according to Len Kravitz, PhD, NSAIDS do not appear to be an effective treatment. Rest, stretching and massage therapy may help. DOMS usually diminishes or disappears completely within three to four days of your exercise session.