Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or is it the Fascia?

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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or is it the Fascia?

DOMS - We have all been there, that 24-48-hour mark and sometimes even at 72 hours we hit peak soreness from training a few days prior. We sit down to go to the toilet and struggle to stand up, walking down the stairs becoming a re-evaluation on if you ever knew how to walk in the first place and forget hanging out the washing, those arms aren’t getting up that high! What’s happening here?

Structures that are involved in eccentric exercise routines can induce a delayed onset of what feels like intense muscle soreness, which makes sense when we resistance train. We are tearing the muscle fibers so that they repair and grow in size and density. However, covering the muscle is an elastic collagen dominant sock called fascia, it allows the muscles to move over one another in various directions without pain and allows flexibility of the muscles to engorge and return.

Fascia or Muscle Soreness?

Well, it’s both – a range of voluntary motion post resistance training is limited while inflammation, muscle engorgement is present – that’s a given. However, in a moderately recent study (2009) – a subject group was exposed to conditions that would provide the atypical DOMS response and where tested at both deep injection vs Fascial level injection and intensity of pain was at an increased response in the Fascial tissue. Suggesting that the sensory perception of muscle soreness post-exercise may involve more of the fascia than the muscle itself. [1]

What does this mean?

This means that, while there is damage to the muscle fibers as intended from resistance training – the once thought dimension for it just being in the muscle; has now provoked an alternative train of thought… That the fascia plays just as large, if not the main role in your perception of soreness days after that session. How can you work to avoid this? Fascia is a 3-dimensional collagen matrix that quite literally surrounds all structures of the body, weaving everywhere it can from head to toe. Collagen Types 1 and 3 contribute to the largest ratios making up this stretchy matrix and allowing for these fascia/collagen structures such as Filaments, free nerve endings, Golgi tendon, elastic and reticular fibers to name just a few, to have the ability to resist and show resilience to tension placed on them. [2]

Where can I find collagen in my diet?

Collagen, being the main constituent of connective tissue to structures is often found in many meat option foods like red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, bone broth is super rich in this with the cook down of the bones, ligaments and connective tissue.

One crucial element of sourcing collagen from your diet is to pair it with foods high in Vitamin C, your leafy greens – Vitamin C is a co-factor for the processing of organizing the protein synthesis of collagen in the body to be used for these structures.

If you wish to supplement your diet with a collagen protein to cover more bases – opt for a ‘collagen peptide’ like that found in Noway. This form of Collagen also consists of Types 1 and 3 forms as we discussed earlier. [3][5][6]

100% Noway HCP Protein by ATP Science

More Info

1. Gibson, W., Arendt-Nielsen, L., Taguchi, T., Mizumura, K., & Graven-Nielsen, T. (2009). Increased pain from muscle fascia following eccentric exercise: animal and human findings. Experimental Brain Research, 194(2), 299–308. DOI:10.1007/s00221-008-1699-8

2. Fascia: a morphological description and classification system based on a literature review. Myroslava Kumka, MD, Ph.D.* and Jason Bonar, BScKin, DC PMCID: PMC3430451 J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2012 Sep; 56(3): 179–191.

3. [3]


5. Zdzieblik, D. et al Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomized controlled trial, doi: 10.1017/80007114515002810, British Journal of Nutrition, 2015