Electronic Theses and Dissertations


The Effect of Exercise on Mechanical Pressure Pain Threshold in the Presence and Absence of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness


Brandon Tynes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Pharmaceutical Science

First Advisor

Christopher D. Black

Second Advisor

Mark Loftin

Third Advisor

Dwight E. Waddell


Research has shown decreased pain sensitivity (hypoalgesia) during and following maximal and sub-maximal isometric exercise (Koltyn, 2002). Research on fibromyalgia patients however has shown the same exercises increase pain sensitivity (hyperalgesia) (Staud, Robinson, & Price, 2005; Kosek, Ekholm, & Hansson, 1996). The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of exercise on pressure pain thresholds (PPT) in the presence and absence of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) within the ipsilateral (contracting) and contralateral quadriceps muscle and plurisegmental finger. Data were collected using twenty-five male participants (aged 18-29) over five testing days: two days of familiarization, one day of baseline (no DOMS) testing, one day of eccentric exercise to induce DOMS, and one day of testing in the presence of DOMS. Testing consisted of participants holding 25% of maximum voluntary contraction strength (MVC) till fatigue, defined as a drop in force of 25%. Pressure pain threshold was taken in each thigh every 30 seconds during exercise, 2-minutes post, and 15-minutes post exercise, as well as before and after exercise in the right index finger. Eccentric exercise was used to induce DOMS with subsequent repeated measures testing performed 48 hours later. Pressure pain threshold increased in both the ipsilateral and contralateral thigh during exercise for both conditions. Pressure pain threshold after exercise remained elevated only in the ipsilateral thigh, while the contralateral thigh returned to baseline. It is concluded that sub-maximal isometric exercise to fatigue in the presence and absence of DOMS increases pressure pain threshold in the ipsilateral thigh and contralateral thigh during exercise, however increases only remain elevated after exercise within the ipsilateral thigh.

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