Can muscle soreness after intensive work-related activities be predicted?

Remko Soer, Jan H B Geertzen, Cees van der Schans, Johan W Groothoff, Michiel F Reneman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: It is currently unknown whether specific determinants are predictive for developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after heavy work-related activities. The aim of this study was to analyze whether personal characteristics and performance measures are predictive for onset, intensity, and duration of DOMS after performing work-related activities during a Functional Capacity Evaluation in healthy participants.

METHODS: Included in this study were 197 healthy participants (102 men, 95 women), all working within a broad range of professions. Five groups of predictors were tested in a multiple regression analysis model: personal variables, self-reported activity, self-reported health, perceived effort during the test, and objective outcomes of the test. Twenty-three independent variables were selected and tested with a backward regression analysis.

RESULTS: The onset of DOMS could be explained for 7% by the variables: sex and the work index of the Baecke questionnaire. Variance of intensity of DOMS could be explained for 13% by the variables: age, sex, and VO2max. Variance in duration of DOMS could be explained for 8% by the variables: sex and reported emotional role limitations. Onset, intensity, and duration of DOMS remain unpredictable for 87% or more.

CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that the intensity and duration of self-reported DOMS can only minimally be predicted from the candidate predictors used in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-243
JournalThe clinical journal of pain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Motor Activity
  • Muscular Diseases
  • Pain
  • Physical Exertion
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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