Research indicates that eccentric exercise is associated with delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). The symptoms associated with DOMS is similar to other inflammatory conditions e.g. pain, swelling and tissue damage. The DOMS as a reaction to the muscle damage is accompanied by changes in cytokines, leukocytes and other markers of inflammation. Prolonged exercise training without adequate rest and nutrition can lead to chronic inflammation and altered cytokine production patterns, which could result in overtraining. Methodology The study included actively participating marathon runners and consisted of two groups, a control group (n = 24 athletes) and an experimental group taking Traumeel S (n = 26 athletes), assigned in a double-blind fashion. Subjects made use of the treatment protocol for a period of seven days and followed their normal training program with no additional training. DOMS was induced on day eight when subjects ran downhill at 75% of peak treadmill running speed (PTRS) for 45 minutes at a gradient of –10% with ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), perceived pain (RPP) and heart rate was measured during the run. After the DOMS was induced subjects reported for blood samples for serum creatine kinase (CK), serum cortisol and a differential white blood cell count was taken at the same time for four days after DOMS was induced. Results The t-test for independent groups was used to determine the statistical differences between the two groups and for inter-group analysis. The results showed minor and predominantly insignificant changes in CK-, basophil-, eosinophil- and lymphocyte-counts. The cortisol levels in the treated group were higher compared to the placebo group at 48-, 72- and 96-hours post-exercise. The treated subjects’ mean monocyte count fell significantly on the first day of recovery and remained significantly lower for the four days post-exercise. Conclusions The increased cortisol concentrations can assist the immune system to shut of the acute inflammatory reaction associated with DOMS and in so doing reduce exercise induced muscle damage and inflammation. The decreased monocyte counts will reduce blood vessel permeability and swelling, fewer pain receptors will be stimulated because of lower PGE2 levels associated with decreased monocyte activation. Secondary, muscle damage that can amongst others be associated with increased monocytic activity, will be limited. Additional blood tests and performance testing are needed to confirm and substantiate the findings of the research.
Dissertation (MA (Human Movement Sciences)--University of Pretoria, 2007.