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Sensory level electrical muscle stimulation: effect on markers of muscle injury
  1. T J McLoughlin1,
  2. A R Snyder1,
  3. P G Brolinson2,
  4. F X Pizza1
  1. 1University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390, USA
  2. 2Northwest Ohio Center for Sports Medicine, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 F X Pizza
 University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390, USA;


Background: Monophasic high voltage stimulation (MHVS) is widely prescribed for the treatment of inflammation associated with muscle injury. However, limited scientific evidence exists to support its purported benefits in humans.

Objective: To examine the efficacy of early initiation of MHVS treatment after muscle injury.

Methods: In a randomised, cross over design, 14 men performed repetitive eccentric contractions of the elbow flexor muscles followed by either MHVS or control treatment. MHVS treatments were applied five minutes and 3, 6, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours after eccentric contractions.

Results: MHVS resulted in a significant reduction (p<0.05) in delayed onset muscle soreness 24 hours after eccentric exercise compared with controls. Elbow extension was significantly increased immediately after administration of MHVS compared with controls. No significant differences were observed between MHVS treatment and controls for maximal isometric strength, flexed arm angle, or arm volume.

Conclusions: Early and frequent application of MHVS may provide transient relief from delayed onset muscle soreness and short term improvements in range of motion after injurious exercise. However, MHVS treatment may not enhance recovery after muscle injury because of lack of improvements in strength and active range of motion.

  • DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness
  • MHVS, monophasic high voltage stimulation
  • TENS, transcutaneous electrical stimulation
  • delayed onset muscle soreness
  • electrical stimulation
  • inflammation
  • muscle injury

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  • Conflict of interest: none declared