Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is frequently experienced 24-48 hours after novel exercise and can prevent people from further engaging in exercise. Minimizing DOMS might provide benefits in this case. Blood flow restriction (BFR) prior to ischemia has been shown to lessen tissue damage experienced, but it is unknown if BFR could decrease DOMS. PURPOSE: To examine if there is BFR before eccentric exercise affects DOMS in normal, healthy adults. METHODS: Eleven healthy adults, ages 18-65, participated in the study. Twenty-four hours prior to an exercise session designed to induce DOMS in the biceps brachii muscles, each participant was subjected to 5 minutes of blood flow restriction on one arm, while the other arm was subjected to a sham protocol. Blood flow restriction was achieved by inflating a cuff (Manufacturer) to 50% of previously determined limb occlusion pressure. A cuff on the contralateral arm was inflated to 10% of the limb occlusion pressure. Exercise-induced muscle damage was induced 24 hours after the blood flow restriction. Participants performed 9 sets of 10-repetition bilateral bicep curls with a focus on slow eccentric phase. Prior to a 24-hour post-exercise, pain-pressure threshold (PPT) measurements were taken on the middle belly of each biceps brachii muscle with a force and acceleration sensor (Vernier Go Direct). Mean PPT scores were compared between arms before and after exercise with a two-way repeated measures ANOVA. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: PPT scores were not different between the control arm and the experimental arm (F(1,10)=.021, p = .888). CONCLUSION: Despite prior indications that blood flow restriction (BFR)/ischemic preconditioning could potentially reduce pain, this study did not find a significant impact on DOMS. Restricting the participant's blood flow 50% of their systolic blood pressure did not have a significant effect on delayed onset muscle soreness. The results suggest that BFR under these conditions does not have a protective aspect to DOMS and is not an effective method in preventing it. Despite these non-significant findings, this study makes a valuable contribution to the research on DOMS and BFR/ischemic preconditioning.



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