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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2003 March;43(1):78-84

lingua: Inglese

Sex differences in delayed onset muscle soreness

Dannecker E. A. 1, Koltyn K. F. 2, Riley J. L. III 3, Robinson M. E. 1

1 Department of Clinical and Health Psychology Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
2 Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
3 College of Dentistry, University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA


Aim. There is agreement that females report greater pain in response to typical experimental pain stimuli than males. However, investigations of sex differences in the sensation of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) have equivocal results. The objective of this investigation was to examine sex differences in the pain from DOMS with an adequate sample size, quantification of stimulus intensity, and 2 measures of pain.
Methods. Sixty-seven participants (52% females) completed a 2-session protocol. DOMS was induced using eccentric resistance exercises in the elbow flexors of the non-dominant arm. The intensity of the eccentric contractions was based upon concentric strength. Pain response was measured 48 hrs later. The dependent variables were pressure threshold, which was assessed using a dolorimeter, and pain intensity when the arm was moved through full active range of motion, which was assessed with a visual analog scale.
Results. The occurrence of DOMS was confirmed by a decrease in pressure threshold after the eccentric contractions and higher pain intensity in the arm that performed the eccentric contractions than the arm that did not. Females reported lower pain intensities (M=3.41, SD=2.13) compared to males (M=5.12, SD=2.05), but no significant sex difference was found in pressure threshold.
Conclusion. In this investigation, females reported lower muscle pain intensity than males, but showed no sex difference in pressure threshold. These and previous findings suggest that the detection of a sex difference in muscle pain depends upon the methodology of inducing DOMS and measuring sensation.

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