Pretty scary that I am giving you a snapshot of what goes on in there--yikes! You can thank Aaron S for the prompting of this rant. Check out the link to his blog on the upper right here--great stuff.
Overload and SAID are NOT the same although similar.
I took a whole class on aerospace physiology once and it was great! Bone loss in space is one of the biggest issue for long term space travel. The study I looked at showed that russians who were in space a long time, years out while back on earth still have less bone mass (BMD) than before their trip.
The body only has a SENSATION of DOMS. As you know, pain levels vary across the board to the same stimulus--so it is a poor indicator at best of performance. In a lab they can pull enzymes like CK, etc to actual monitor muscle damage for the purpose of studies since they know only using a VAS for pain is not the best.
Interesting to note that someone with severe DOMS and high amounts of pain moves like dog poo. Hmmmmmm. They tend to move like chronic pain patients or even worse. I don't think that is the goal.
Louie (at Westside Barbell) is the man, and if strength is your main goal (ala Westside) than you need a ton of SAID practice and a crap load of frequency. The trick is that they don't play nice together (lots of heavy max lifts=no good). They know that eccentrics take too long to recover from (limit frequency) and are not as directly specific to their needs. Instead of ONLY trying to focus on recover, they do the intelligent thing and limit exposure to eccentric work in the first place.
I have looked at some newer research and I think that some DOMS or muscle damage is needed for hypertrophy, but even then I don't think DOMS should be the GOAL. There is a role for them in injury reduction/ploys too since you want to DECELERATE the force as quickly as possible and that requires large eccentric forces by the muscle, tendons, joints, etc. .
I did listen to Mark Verstegen's talks on Recovery (from the Fit Xpo) recently and it was pretty good. I wonder about ice baths all the time though and me thinks it is specific to each person's NS (nervous system). I did some informal testing awhile back on ice/heat for injuries on a few people and I could never predict which would help. Usually the athlete already knew if they were not brainwashed. Ask "Did heat or ice feel better?" and they can normally tell you. Another option is simple ROM testing while using ice or heat.
Any comments, let me know.