Objective: In this study, the effects of vibration therapy (VT) on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and associated inflammatory markers after downhill running were determined.
Methods: 29 male recreational runners (33 (8) years; V(O2)peak 57 (6) ml kg(-1) min(-1)) completed a 40-min downhill run and were randomly allocated to a VT group or Control group. For 5 days post-run, the VT group underwent once-daily sessions of VT on the upper and lower legs. DOMS was assessed pre-run and for 5 days post-run by visual analogue scale. Immune cell subsets and plasma inflammatory markers were assessed pre-run, post-run, 24 and 120 h post-run by full differential cell count, and by ELISA and enzyme immunoassay, respectively. Data were analysed as per cent change from pre-run (ANOVA) and the magnitude of the treatment effect (Cohen's effect size statistics).
Results: VT significantly reduced calf pain 96 h post-run (-50% (40%), 90% confidence limits) and gluteal pain 96 h (-50% (40%)) and 120 h post-run (-30% (30%)); decreased interleukin 6 (IL6) 24 h (-46% (31%)) and 120 h post-run (-65% (30%)); substantially decreased histamine 24 h (-40% (50%)) and 120 h post-run (-37% (48%)); substantially increased neutrophils (8.6% (8.1%)) and significantly decreased lymphocytes (-17% (12%)) 24 h post-run. There were no clear substantial effects of VT on other leukocyte subsets and inflammatory markers.
Conclusion: VT reduces muscle soreness and IL6. It may stimulate lymphocyte and neutrophil responses and may be a useful modality in treating muscle inflammation.