Purpose/background: Muscle soreness can negatively interfere with the activities of daily living as well as sports performance. In the working environment, a common problem is muscle tenderness, soreness and pain, especially for workers frequently exposed to unilateral high repetitive movements tasks. The aim of the study is therefore to investigate the acute effect of massage applied using a simple device Thera-band roller Massager on laboratory induced hamstring muscle soreness, and the potential cross over effect to the non-massaged limb.
Methods: 22 healthy untrained men (Mean age 34 +/- 7 years; mean height 181.7 +/- 6.9 cm; mean weight 80.6 +/- 6.4 kg; BMI: 24.5 +/- 1.3) with no prior history of knee, low back or neck injury or other adverse health issues were recruited. Participants visited the researchers on two separate occasions, separated by 48 hours, each time providing a soreness rating (modified visual analog scale 0-10), and being tested for pressure pain threshold (PPT) and active range of motion (ROM) of the hamstring muscles. During the first visit, delayed onset muscular soreness of the hamstring muscles was induced by 10 x 10 repetitions of the stiff-legged dead-lift. On the second visit participants received either 1) 10 minutes of roller massage on one leg, while the contralateral leg served as a cross over control, or 2) Resting for 10 minutes with no massage at all. Measurement of soreness, PPT and ROM were taken immediately before and at 0, 10, 30 and 60 min. after treatment.
Results: There was a significant group by time interaction for soreness (p < 0.0001) and PPT (p = 0.0007), with the massage group experiencing reduced soreness and increasing PPT compared with the control group. There was no group by time interaction for ROM (p = 0.18). At 10 min. post massage there was a significant reduction in soreness of the non-massaged limb in the cross over control group compared to controls but this effect was lost 30 minutes post massage.
Conclusion: Massage with a roller device reduces muscle soreness and is accompanied by a higher PPT of the affected muscle.
Level of evidence: 2c; outcomes research.
Keywords: Cross over effect; delayed onset muscle soreness hyperalgesia; pain.