Muscle soreness, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is a common condition that occurs after physical activity, particularly after engaging in exercise that you are not accustomed to or after a particularly intense workout. While the exact cause of muscle soreness is not fully understood, there are several theories.
One of the most widely accepted theories is that muscle soreness is caused by microscopic tears in muscle fibers. During exercise, particularly resistance training, the muscles are put under stress, and as a result, the muscle fibers become damaged. This damage triggers an inflammatory response, causing pain and soreness in the affected muscles.
Another theory is that muscle soreness is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid is produced by the muscles during exercise, and it can build up in the muscles, causing them to feel sore and fatigued.
Additionally, muscle soreness may also be caused by the release of creatine kinase and other enzymes into the bloodstream, which can lead to inflammation and pain in the muscles.
Other factors that may contribute to muscle soreness include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and inadequate warm-up or cool-down periods before and after exercise.
It is important to note that while muscle soreness can be uncomfortable, it is a natural part of the body’s response to physical activity. With proper rest, hydration, and nutrition, the muscles will heal and become stronger over time.