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The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of interferential current (IFC) on perceived pain and serum Cortisol levels in subjects with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS was induced in 10 subjects through repeated eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors. Forty-eight hours later subjects were evaluated. Starting at t = 0:00, blood samples were withdrawn from a superficial vein every 5 min for 65 min. At t = 0:05, subjects received IFC of 10 bps or IFC of 100 bps. Perceived pain levels were evaluated prior to catheter insertion and at t = 0:35, 0:50, and 0:65. Two mixed-model analyses of variance revealed a significant decrease in perceived pain scores across time for both treatment groups but no significant difference in serum Cortisol for the two groups. It was concluded that IFC of high and low beat frequency is effective in controlling the pain of DOMS but does not elicit a generalized stress response as indexed by increasing serum Cortisol levels.
R.J. Schmitz, D.E. Martin, and D.H. Perrin are with the Athletic Training Research Laboratory, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903. A. Iranmanesh is with Salem V.A. Hospital, Salem, VA 24153. A.D. Rogol is with the Health Sciences Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.