Introduction: Roller massage (RM) has been reported to reduce pain associated with exercise-induced muscle soreness and increase range of motion without force or activation impairments. The objective was to examine RM effects on evoked pain and contractile properties.
Methods: Twelve men received three sets of 30-s RM at a perceived discomfort level of 7/10 on a visual analogue scale on the ipsilateral (IPSI-R) stimulated plantar flexors (PF), contralateral PF (CONTRA-R), Sham (light rolling on stimulated PF), or Control. At pre-test, post-test, and 5-min post-test, they received evoked maximal twitch, tetanus, and 70% maximal tetanic stimulation, and performed a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). Data analysis included perceived pain and contractile properties.
Results: The 70% tetanus illustrated significant 9-10% increases in pain perception with Sham and Control at post- and 5-min post-test, respectively (p < 0.01). There was no pain augmentation with IPSI-R and CONTRA-R. There were no main effects or interactions for most contractile properties. However, MVIC force developed in the first 200 ms showed 9.5% (p = 0.1) and 19.1% (p = 0.03) decreases with IPSI-R at post-test and 5-min post-test.
Conclusion: Data suggest that RM-induced neural inhibition decreased MVIC F200 and nullified the testing-induced increase in evoked pain associated with 70% tetanic stimulation.
Keywords: Foam roller; Massage; Muscle twitch; Tetanus; Visual analogue scale.