A Comparison of Visual Analog and Graphic Rating Scales for Assessing Pain Following Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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This study evaluated a visual analog scale (VAS) and a graphic rating scale (GRS) for the measurement of pain following delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and following treatment for the symptoms of DOMS. Data from two studies were used to evaluate the scales. Pain intensity was assessed prior to and following induction of DOMS and immediately before and after each treatment session. In Study 1, subjects were randomly assigned to receive a 20-min ice pack followed by a 7-min sham ultrasound treatment or a 20-min ice pack followed by a 7-min nonthermal ultrasound treatment. In Study 2, subjects received a 20-rain microcurrent neuromuscular stimulation (MENS) treatment or a 20-min sham MENS treatment. In both studies, significant differences were found between the VAS and GRS scales for pretest conditions on Days 1 and 2 for all subjects. There were no significant differences between any other days or tests. The differences on Day 1 and Day 2 were attributed to the novelty of filling out the scales. Therefore, a. visual analog or graphic rating scale can be used to evaluate pain intensity following DOMS when repeated measurement is involved, although consideration should be given to potential differences the first one or two times the scales are completed.

C.G. Mattacola was a doctoral student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, at the time of this study and is now with the Department of Physical Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122. D.H. Perrin and B.M. Gansneder are with the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. J. D. Allen was a student at the University of Virginia at the time of this study and is now a student at Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA. C.A. Mickey was astudent at the University of Virginia at the time of this study and is now with Waynesburg College, Pittsburgh.