Effects of sensory-level high-volt pulsed electrical current ondelayed-onset muscle soreness

J Sports Sci. 2006 Sep;24(9):941-9. doi: 10.1080/02640410500357226.


Ten healthy males and ten healthy females aged 21.5 +/- 3.2 years (mean +/- s) participated in the study, which was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of sensory level-high volt pulsed electrical current (HVPC) on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Arm discomfort, elbow extension range of motion and isometric elbow flexion strength were obtained as baseline measurements. Delayed-onset muscle soreness was induced in the participants' dominant or non-dominant arm using two sets of 20 maximal eccentric elbow flexion contractions. After the induction of DOMS, the participants were randomly divided into an experimental condition (HVPC) or a placebo condition. The experimental condition consisted of 20 min of HVPC immediately after the induction of DOMS, and 20 min every 24 h for three consecutive days thereafter. The participants in the placebo condition received an intervention similar in design; however, no electrical current was administered. Baseline measurements were reevaluated at 24, 48, 72 and 96 h after the induction of DOMS. Three weeks later, the participants returned and the protocol was repeated on the contralateral limb, using the opposite intervention (HVPC or placebo). Repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed a significant increase in overall arm discomfort, decrease in elbow extension and decrease in isometric strength for both conditions over time. No significant main effect of treatment, or time-by-treatment interaction, was found for the HVPC condition when compared with the placebo condition for any variable. Sensory-level HVPC, as utilized in our application, was ineffective in reducing the measured variables associated with DOMS.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Elbow / physiopathology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*