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Local high-frequency vibration therapy following eccentric exercises reduces muscle soreness perception and posture alterations in elite athletes

Abstract

Purpose

Exercise-induced muscle damage produces painful sensations (delayed onset of muscle soreness, DOMS). DOMS causes compensatory postural adaptations, which in turn affect athletes’ walking and running gait biomechanics. It is still debated whether the postural changes are due to impaired proprioception or pain perception. To disambiguate between these two contrasting hypotheses, we designed a study that tested post-exercise postural adjustments in two groups of athletes: a group who was administered a vibration therapy (VT), to attenuate pain perception, and a control group.

Methods

Thirty professional futsal players were tested on five different occasions: baseline, eccentric exercises (EE) session day, 24, 48 and 72 h after EE. Vibration therapy (120 Hz) was applied on legs muscles for 15 min in the experimental group, while no vibration was applied in the control group. The measurements included: isokinetic evaluation, stabilometric test, perceived soreness evaluation and serum levels of creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase.

Results

48 h after EE, the control group showed changes in biomechanical parameters (antero-rotations of pelvis, p < 0.05). A substantial alteration in the hip kinematics was found, associated to a reduced contractile force (p < 0.01) and soreness perception. On the contrary, the VT group did not show any change in posture and pain perception. High-intensity VT decreases EE effects on muscle strength and DOMS.

Conclusions

DOMS significantly changes athletes’ posture; but postural changes disappear following a VT therapy that decreases pain perception. It is concluded that soreness perception is the main cause of postural changes and that its effects can be counteracted using VT therapy.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

CK:

Creatine kinase

COM:

Centers of mass

COP:

Center of pressure

CS:

Cranio subsystem

CTRL:

Control

DOMS:

Delayed onset of muscle soreness

EC:

Eyes closed

EE:

Eccentric exercise

EIMD:

Exercise-induced muscle damage

EMG:

Electromyography

EO:

Eyes open

ICC:

Intraclass correlation coefficients

LDH:

Lactate dehydrogenase

MVC:

Maximal voluntary contraction

PPT:

Pressure pain threshold

PS:

Pelvic subsystem

SIAS:

Spina iliaca anterior superior

SIPS:

Spina iliaca posterior superior

VT:

Vibration therapy

WBV:

Whole body vibration

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Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

PI conceived and directed the study, carried out the experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the paper. PR supervised the eccentric exercise procedures, performed blood samples preparation and analysis, contributed to data interpretation and discussion. GP supervised the project, contributed to data interpretation, discussion and wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pierpaolo Iodice.

Additional information

Communicated by Olivier Seynnes.

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Iodice, P., Ripari, P. & Pezzulo, G. Local high-frequency vibration therapy following eccentric exercises reduces muscle soreness perception and posture alterations in elite athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 539–549 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-4026-5

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Keywords

  • Pain
  • Futsal
  • Vibration therapy
  • Muscle recovery
  • Balance
  • Isokinetic
  • Posture