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Phys Ther Sport. 2014 Nov;15(4):228-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Cold water immersion in the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness: is dose important? A randomised controlled trial.

Author information

1
Sports Institute Northern Ireland, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim BT37 0QB, United Kingdom.
2
Ulster Sports Academy, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim BT37 0QB, United Kingdom.
3
Ulster Sports Academy, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim BT37 0QB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: c.bleakley@ulster.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cold Water Immersion (CWI) is commonly used to manage delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) resulting from exercise. Scientific evidence for an optimal dose of CWI is lacking and athletes continue to use a range of a treatment protocols and water temperatures.

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the effectiveness of four different water immersion protocols and a passive control intervention in the management of DOMS.

DESIGN:

Randomised controlled trial with blinded outcome assessment.

SETTING:

University Research Laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS:

50 healthy participants with laboratory induced DOMS randomised to one of five groups: Short contrast immersion (1 min 38 °C/1 min 10 °C × 3), Short intermittent CWI (1 min × 3 at 10 °C); 10 min CWI in 10 °C; 10 min CWI in 6 °C; or control (seated rest).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

muscle soreness, active range of motion, pain on stretch, muscle strength and serum creatine kinase.

RESULTS:

10 min of CWI in 6 °C was associated with the lowest levels of muscle soreness and pain on stretch however values were not statistically different to any of the other groups. There were no statistically significant differences between groups for any other outcomes.

CONCLUSION:

Altering the treatment duration, water temperature or dosage of post exercise water immersion had minimal effect on outcomes relating to DOMS.

KEYWORDS:

Eccentric exercise; Ice bath; Muscle soreness

PMID:
24768476
DOI:
10.1016/j.ptsp.2014.01.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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