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Effective Therapy for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

July 2, Akron, Ohio - Researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's completed a study on the effectiveness of two types of cold therapy—ice and Biofreeze Pain Reliever, a menthol-based topical analgesic — on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The study concluded that Biofreeze reduced DOMS – induced symptoms of pain by a significant 63 per cent more than ice.

July 9, 2012  By Massage Therapy Canada

often observed in athletes, is a common consequence of unaccustomed exercise or
overtraining especially with the inclusion of extensive eccentric contractions.
The presence of DOMS inhibits muscle activity or motor performance for up to
several days following the initiating event. One of the major symptoms of DOMS
is pain, which can cause inhibition of force production of the involved muscle.
Cold therapy is often applied to reduce the pain of DOMS, which is thought to
result from damage to muscle cells and subsequent inflammation. And although
ice is often used to alleviate DOMS-pain, studies on its effectiveness show
mixed results.

Menthol, the active ingredient in Biofreeze Pain Reliever, is
considered to be a counterirritant. The exact mechanism of menthol’s pain
relief is not clear, but it’s believed that menthol stimulates temperature
receptors in the skin that are associated with an analgesic (pain-relieving)
effect. Previous researchers have shown that Biofreeze reduces blood flow and
pain, similar to ice.
(Olive et al 2010, Bishop et al. 2011).

“The purpose of this study was to compare applications of
Biofreeze with ice on pain, maximum voluntary contraction and evoked titanic
force during DOMS,” stated
David, G, Behm, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and
Research, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of
Newfoundland. “It was hypothesized that Biofreeze would be more effective than
ice in alleviating DOMS-related symptoms and thus improve strength output.”


researchers at Memorial University induced DOMS in the biceps of 16 healthy
subjects with eccentric exercise. Two days later, the subjects randomly received
either Biofreeze topical analgesic or an ice pack to the affected muscle. Their
pain and strength levels were measured 20 minutes after application. The
researchers found that Biofreeze reduced DOMS significantly more than ice by 63
per cent. In addition, Biofreeze allowed greater evoked (tetanic) muscle
contractions in the 
muscle compared to ice.

most important results of this study suggest that Biofreeze was more effective
than ice for relieving soreness associated with DOMS while at rest or during
muscle contractions,” continued Dr. Behm. “Furthermore, the greater tetanic
forces with the menthol analgesic may suggest that more intense or aggressive
muscle stimulation therapy during rehabilitation might be possible with such a
therapeutic agent. However, more research is needed in patient populations
receiving electrical muscle stimulation.”


more information on Biofreeze topical analgesic, please visit 


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