The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
JA took part in the conception, design, data collection, data analysis and preparation of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript. AJS took part in the conception, design, data collection, data analysis and preparation of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript. DCB took part in the conception, design, data collection, data analysis and preparation of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The aim of the present study was to determine the acute effect of rolling massage on pressure pain threshold (PPT) in individuals with tender spots in their plantar flexor muscles.
In a randomized control trial and single blinded study, tender spots were identified in 150 participants’ plantar flexor muscles (gastrocnemius or soleus). Then participants were randomly assigned to one of five intervention groups (n = 30): 1) heavy rolling massage on the calf that exhibited the higher tenderness (Ipsi-R), 2) heavy rolling massage on the contralateral calf (Contra-R), 3) light stroking of the skin with roller massager on the calf that exhibited the higher tenderness (Sham), 4) manual massage on the calf that exhibited the higher tenderness (Ipsi-M) and 5) no intervention (Control). PPT was measured at 30 s and up to 15 min post-intervention via a pressure algometer.
At 30 s post-intervention, the Ipsi-R (24 %) and Contra-R (21 %) demonstrated higher (p < 0.03) PPT values compared with Control and Sham. During 15 min post-intervention, PPT was higher (p < 0.05) following Ipsi-R (19.2 %), Contra-R (15.9 %) and Ipsi-M (10.9 %) compared with Control. There was no difference between the effects of three deep tissue massages (Ipsi-R, Ipsi-M and Contra-R) on PPT.
Whereas the increased PPT following ipsilateral massage (Ipsi-R and Ipsi-M) might be attributed to the release of fibrous adhesions; the non-localized effect of rolling massage on the contralateral limb suggests that other mechanisms such as a central pain-modulatory system play a role in mediation of perceived pain following brief tissue massage.
Overall, rolling massage over a tender spot reduces pain perception.
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02528812), August 19th, 2015.
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- Pain pressure threshold of a muscle tender spot increases following local and non-local rolling massage
Duane C. Button
- BioMed Central
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