I'd like to know if there is a connection between delayed onset muscle soreness and pain tolerance.

I have always had a high tolerance for pain and have never experienced a lower tolerance for pain before now. My body is very sore after exercising yesterday and some of my movement is restricted slightly, but this is nothing I haven't experienced after a workout before. What's new is I react more quickly and sensitively to pain stimuli (a sharp poke, a firm pinch) today, one day later.

This has never happened before so I'm wondering if there is a connection.

I'd appreciate any input.



I have not exercised regularly in years (I used to go to the gym 3 times a week for personal training sessions but that was in 2012). The last time I exercised before now was about half a year ago, and I was only able to keep the routine for a couple of weeks.

Last night, I worked out for the first time in a while, following a couple of Fitness Blender's workout videos (roughly 1.5 to 2 hours of beginner cardio, beginner HIIT and Tabata, with a little yoga/pilates at the end before the cool down).

I felt it was a pretty vigorous workout for someone just starting up again so I thought perhaps this is the reason for decreased pain tolerance?

  • While I do not know of any correlation between pain tolerance and doms, generally the more you train with a specific routine th less you feel doms. I would imagine the reason you are sore is because you haven't done that exercise routine in a while. Anyways doms really isn't a pain feeling but rather a sore feeling, are you sure you didn't pull a muscle maybe?if that's the case a sports practitioner might help
    – Motombo
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


First of all, there's not a unified model for DOMS.

The majour hypotesis and models are five, but they all fail to unify insurgence of pain depending on time with the actual culprit ( in terms of biology, the molecule or mechanism that should cause them ).

No. DOMS have nothing to do with ones pain tolerance. The amount of pain you feel from DOMS is subjective.

  • 1
    That is a pretty blanket statement. Do you have anything to back that up?
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 14:38
  • Actually I have. But wasn't making reference a "not to do" thing? However: link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200333020-00005 Here is the litterature review that proposes the model of DOMS. I have full access to this article, but this is under paywall ( if you don't have a subscription to the journal I can't help you )
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 15:08

Old post I realize, but I'll add my own experience. High pain tolerance can push you past safe levels of muscle soreness. Our bodies know we'll ignore the usual pain signals when exercising, so by the time we feel anything it's probably going to be worse than it should be otherwise (there's been a study on the topic). I have found I need to be careful because I won't feel pain until I'm already injured. It just requires staying aware and focused during workouts.

  • 2
    I'm afraid that, as it stands, this is purely anecdotal. Is there any chance you could find the study you mention?
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Apr 8 at 16:55
  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 8 at 16:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.