Interferential therapy: lack of effect upon experimentally induced delayed onset muscle soreness

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2002 Sep;22(5):339-47. doi: 10.1046/j.1475-097x.2002.00441.x.


This study was designed to assess the analgesic effects of interferential therapy (IFT) on experimentally induced muscular pain under randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions. After ethical approval and written consent were obtained, 40 healthy human volunteers (20 males: 20 females) aged 18-25 years were recruited and randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups (n = 10 per group: male = female): IFT 1, IFT 2, control or placebo. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) was induced in the elbow flexors of the non-dominant arm of each subject using a single bout of eccentric exercises to exhaustion. Measurements of isometric peak torque, resting angle, mechanical pain threshold and visual analogue scales were performed at set time points. Treatment was applied for 30 min daily over the biceps brachii muscle, for five consecutive days, according to group allocation. IFT 1 received 10-20 Hz, whilst subjects in IFT 2 were treated with 80-100 Hz (bi-pole; carrier frequency: 4 kHz; pulse duration: 125 microseconds). For the placebo group, the procedure was identical to that in the active treatment groups; however, no interferential current was delivered. The control group received no treatment. No significant between group difference was identified at any time point (P > or = 0.14). However, some inconsistent, yet significant differences in daily treatment effects, interactive effects and effects over time were detected. Based on the results of this study it can be concluded that application of IFT at the parameters used here, had no overall beneficial effect on DOMS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold
  • Posture
  • Torque