The effects of athletic massage on delayed onset muscle soreness, creatine kinase, and neutrophil count: a preliminary report

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1994 Feb;19(2):93-9. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1994.19.2.93.

Abstract

It was hypothesized that athletic massage administered 2 hours after eccentric exercise would disrupt an initial crucial event in acute inflammation, the accumulation of neutrophils. This would result in a diminished inflammatory response and a concomitant reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and serum creatine kinase (CK). Untrained males were randomly assigned to a massage (N = 7) or control (N = 7) group. All performed five sets of isokinetic eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors and extensors. Two hours after exercise, massage subjects received a 30-minute athletic massage; control subjects rested. Delayed onset muscle soreness and CK were assessed before exercise and at 8, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours after exercise. Circulating neutrophils were assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; cortisol was assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; cortisol was assessed at similar times. A trend analysis revealed a significant (p < 0.05) treatment by time interaction effect for 1) DOMS, with the massage group reporting reduced levels; 2) CK, with the massage group displaying reduced levels; 3) neutrophils, with the massage group displaying a prolonged elevation; and 4) cortisol, with the massage group showing a diminished diurnal reduction. The results of this study suggest that sports massage will reduce DOMS and CK when administered 2 hours after the termination of eccentric exercise. This may be due to a reduced emigration of neutrophils and/or higher levels of serum cortisol.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Creatine Kinase / blood*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Myositis / physiopathology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Pain Measurement*

Substances

  • Creatine Kinase
  • Hydrocortisone