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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 21-25

Comparative Study of Stretch Exercises and Electrical Stimulation in the Relief of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

1 Department of Physiotherapy, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, PMB, 20420, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Anatomy, Lagos State University College of Medicine, PMB 21266, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
3 Department of Medicine, Lagos State University College of Medicine, PMB 21266, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
4 Medical Assisted Reproduction Center (MART), P.O. Box 5447, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
P I Jewo
Department of Anatomy, Lagos State University College of Medicine, PMB 21266, Ikeja, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Delayed onset muscle soreness, (DOMS) is characterized by pain and discomfort in skeletal muscles following unaccustomed eccentric physical activity such as downhill running and push ups. It has been treated in several ways including massage, stretching and cryotherapy. This study compared the effects of simple stretch exercises and trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the treatment of DOMS. Materials and Methods: We measured pain, muscle power and range of motion (ROM) in 90 young people who had DOMS induced in the non-dominant biceps muscles by 100 elbow flexion/extension movements in which they lifted a 5 kg dumbbell. All the subjects were organised into 3 groups. Two of the groups were treated with either stretch exercises or TENS and the third were not treated. Results: Both treatments caused significant reduction in soreness, (p<0.05), with passive stretching proving more effective. Mean pain felt after treatment in the stretch group was 0.96±1.01 compared to 1.80±0.89 in the TENS group (p < 0.05) and 3.40± 1.61 in control group on day 2. ROM values were highest in the stretch group as well, with mean values of 132.97±4.94 degrees compared to 122.80±24.11 degrees for TENS group (p<0.001) and 113.60±6.464 degrees for control group on day 2. Conclusion: In spite of its high-tech apparatus, TENS showed no superior benefits compared to stretch. With the advantage of lower costs, stretch exercises should be a useful treatment for DOMS.

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