WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation is a natural process within the body that utilises white blood cells and other substances to attach itself to any damage, usually caused by bumps, cuts or scrapes, to begin repairing it. 1 The inflammation also allows blood vessels to open up so adequate blood can reach the affected areas, forming a blood clot to heal damaged tissue, as well as triggering pain as part of the healing process. Chemicals known as cytokines are also released by the damaged tissue. The cytokines act as "emergency signals" that bring in your body's immune cells, hormones and nutrients to help fix any related issues.2
However, in the case of being active, whether it’s a heavy weights session, long run, gruelling bike ride, and any sport or activity in-between, the inflammation here is caused by tiny, microscopic tears in your muscle fibres. Your body responds to this damage by increasing inflammation, which may lead to the dreaded (but equally beneficial) DOMS.3
WHAT IS DOMS?
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the pain we feel the day (and sometimes many days) after any kind of intense exercise. This isn’t the soreness you feel during or straight after exercising – that’s simply acute muscle soreness due to the build-up of lactic acid, and this soon disappears shortly after you finish. DOMS symptoms typically occur up to at least 12 to 24 hours after a workout. The pain tends to peak about one to three days after your workout, and then should ease up after that.4
Symptoms include muscle tenderness, swelling, short-term loss of muscle strength, and reduced range of motion due to stiffness. Although part of the process that helps to promote functional changes with your body, such as muscle strength, growth and conditioning, DOMS can seriously disrupt your training schedule and could potentially leave you sidelined if these aches and strains are aggravated further. So, what options are there for helping reduce this inflammation to keep your training on track?
7) Nagarkatti, Prakash, et al. “Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.” Future Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 1, no. 7, 2009, pp. 1333–1349