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Pain sensitivity is normalized after a repeated bout of eccentric exercise.

Randomized controlled trial
Hosseinzadeh M, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated bouts of eccentric exercise on the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) threshold, a measure of sensitivity in the spinal nociceptive system.

METHODS: Sixteen healthy students (age 25.7 ± 0.6 years, BMI 24.8 ± 1 kg m(-2)) participated in this randomized, controlled, crossover study. Two identical bouts of high-intensity eccentric exercises were performed on the tibialis anterior muscle 7 days apart. Control sessions involving no exercise were performed 4 weeks apart the exercise sessions. Pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and the NWR threshold were recorded before, immediately after, and 1 day after both bouts of exercise.

RESULTS: Pressure pain thresholds decreased significantly at two of the muscle belly sites on the day after initial bout compared with baseline. NWR threshold decreased by 25 ± 4 % immediately after initial bout and by 30 ± 5 % the next day (p < 0.05) as an indication of generalized pain hypersensitivity. On the contrary, no changes were found in both pain thresholds after second bout of eccentric exercise indicating that both localized and generalized pain sensitivity were normalized.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, this study for the first time documented that an initial bout of unaccustomed high-intensity eccentric exercise, which results in muscle soreness can induce central sensitization. A repeated bout of exercise, however, facilitates inherent protective spinal mechanisms against the development of muscle soreness.


23922170 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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