#1: Take Caffeine
Caffeine is well known for its enormous benefits on endurance and strength training performance. Caffeine’s ability to reduce DOMS is less known, but it appears to be one of the most effective ways of curing sick muscles.
A recent study had trained men take 5 mg/kg of bodyweight of caffeine and then do a muscle-damaging workout to induce DOMS. Results showed that compared to a placebo, participants who took caffeine were much less sore on day 2 and 3 after training. Soreness was completely gone by the end of the third day in the caffeine group, suggesting it accelerated the recovery process.
Of interest, the caffeine group had a lower rating of perceived exertion and did more reps on the final set of the workout, indicating they worked harder than the placebo group, but still experienced less muscle soreness.
A second study had female trainees take the same dose of caffeine post-workout (at 24 and 48 hours post) and found that it decreased pain by between 26 and 48 percent, depending on the type of motion being assessed.
Why It Works: Scientists suggest that caffeine reduces soreness because it blocks central nervous receptors related to pain.
#2: Try Acupuncture on Tender Points (Where You’re Sore)
Acupuncture can be effective to reduce DOMS, however, it’s unclear if acupuncture will restore strength and muscle function because this has not yet been studied.
Why It Works: Acupuncture affects the sensitized pain receptors, decreasing the brain’s message of pain. The result is a lower sensation of pain in the muscles.
Use It: Acupuncture has many therapeutic benefits and may be worth the investment if you’re training for a competition or are an athlete who must perform. Use it as a secret DOMS treatment for unplanned muscle soreness.
Source: Poliquin Group