Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

How to Treat Severe Muscle Soreness From Weightlifting

author image Michelle Matte
Michelle Matte is an accomplished fitness professional who holds certifications in personal training, pilates, yoga, group exercise and senior fitness. She has developed curricula for personal trainers and group exercise instructors for an international education provider. In her spare time, Matte writes fiction and blogs.
How to Treat Severe Muscle Soreness From Weightlifting
Muscle soreness. Photo Credit: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, describes the tight, sore muscles that show up a day or two after an intense weight-training session. According to exercise scientist Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico, DOMS usually peaks within within 24 to 48 hours and resolves itself within 96 hours. (reference 4) Proactive treatment can ease your symptoms, but it will not necessarily speed your recovery.

Video of the Day

Step 1

Stop exercising and rest.
Stop exercising and rest. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Discontinue exercise and allow your sore muscles to rest. The American College of Sports Medicine warns that continuing to exercise with severe symptoms may make the pain worse. Refrain from exercising until your symptoms subside.

Step 2

Apply an ice pack to the region.
Apply an ice pack to the region. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Apply ice to the affected region. Ice can help reduce inflammation and soothe damaged muscle tissue. A 2010 study performed at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse found that 30-minute ice treatments applied immediately after a workout -- and then repeated two, four, six, 24 and 48 hours later -- effectively minimized the perceived pain, although it didn't improve the muscle performance.

Step 3

Get a massage.
Get a massage. Photo Credit: Images

Seek massage or acupressure therapy. A review of literature published by the Australian Association of Massage Therapists and RMIT University supported massage and acupressure as effective treatments to ease DOMS symptoms.

Step 4

Ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory.
Ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory. Photo Credit: Jonathan Berry/iStock/Getty Images

Take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and flurbiprofen for temporary pain relief. However, because of the negative side effects of gastrointestinal distress and elevated blood pressure -- along with non-conclusive evidence to support their effectiveness -- NSAIDs are not the optimal choices for treating DOMS.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media