Vibration-induced afferent activity augments delayed onset muscle allodynia

J Pain. 2011 Aug;12(8):884-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2011.02.355. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Evidence suggests large diameter afferents, presumably in response to centrally mediated changes, augment the mechanical allodynia or hyperalgesia seen in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) conditions. Healthy males aged 18 to 30 (n = 16) performed eccentric exercise eliciting DOMS in the tibialis anterior muscle of a randomly assigned exercised leg. The contralateral leg served as a control. Mechanosensitivity was assessed on the exercised and control legs prior to and 24 hours postexercise via pressure pain thresholds (PPTs). PPTs were assessed at the muscle site, and at a distant segmentally related site, either without vibration or with vibration concurrently applied to the distant muscle, segmentally related, or control extra-segmentally related site. Participants completed a 6-point Likert scale providing a subjective measure of DOMS 5 days postexercise. Baseline mechanosensitivity was not significantly different at any site between the exercised and control legs prior to the exercise. Soreness ratings were higher 24 to 48 hours postexercise (P < .05), and baseline PPTs at the exercised legs muscle site decreased postexercise (P < .001). On day 1 following exercise, segmentally related site PPTs reduced significantly when vibration was applied concurrently to the DOMS affected tibialis anterior muscle (P < .04) compared to baseline mechanosensitivity or extrasegmental control vibration.

Perspective: Further evidence is presented by this article indicating that large diameter afferents, presumably via centrally mediated mechanisms, augment the mechanical hyperalgesia seen in DOMS conditions. Future research examining eccentric activity in individuals with likely centrally sensitized conditions may be warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / pathology*
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Pressure / adverse effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Vibration*
  • Young Adult