Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: a randomized controlled clinical trial

PeerJ. 2017 Oct 13:5:e3908. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3908. eCollection 2017.


Objectives: Compare the immediate effects of a Neurodynamic Mobilization (NM) treatment or foam roller (FR) treatment after DOMS.

Design: Double blind randomised clinical trial.

Setting: The participants performed 100 drop jumps (5 sets of 20 repetitions, separated by 2 min rests) from a 0.5-m high box in a University biomechanics laboratory to induce muscle soreness. The participants were randomly assigned in a counter-balanced fashion to either a FR or NM treatment group.

Participants: Thirty-two healthy subjects (21 males and 11 females, mean age 22.6 ± 2.2 years) were randomly assigned into the NM group (n = 16) or the FR group (n = 16).

Main outcome measures: The numeric pain rating scale (NPRS; 0-10), isometric leg strength with dynamometry, surface electromyography at maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and muscle peak activation (MPA) upon landing after a test jump were measured at baseline, 48 h after baseline before treatment, and immediately after treatment.

Results: Both groups showed significant reduction in NPRS scores after treatment (NM: 59%, p < .01; FR: 45%, p < .01), but no difference was found between them (p > .05). The percentage change improvement in the MVIC for the rectus femoris was the only significant difference between the groups (p < 0.05) at post-treatment. After treatment, only the FR group had a statistically significant improvement (p < 0.01) in strength compared to pre-treatment.

Conclusion: Our results illustrate that both treatments are effective in reducing pain perception after DOMS whereas only FR application showed differences for the MVIC in the rectus femoris and strength.

Keywords: Exercise-induced muscle damage; Muscle activation; Neurodynamic mobilization; Pain; Recovery; Self-myofascial release.

Grants and funding

The authors received no funding for this work.