Why 2-3 hours window after eccentric exercise is so important? To answer this question we will also use article published in Journal of Massage Science (Sep/Oct, 2009) by our sports massage expert O. Bouimer LMT. In this article he used animation designed by our technical support to recreate events described by Smith, L.L et al. (1994).

Vigorous exercises induce microdamage to the myofibrills with the following development of local aseptic (non-infectious) inflammation and interstitial edema in the overexercised muscles. The body reacts to this inflamation by sending neutrophils to the affected area.

Neutrophils enter the muscle tissue from the neighboring capillaries and start their cleaning job (i.e., phagocytosis) to remove the waste products produced by this inflammation. The increased concentration of neutrophils also attracts other types of phagocytic cells: macrophages. In the process of phagocytosis, catabolic enzymes are released from neutrophils, and they additionally damage already injured muscle fibers.

Dr. Smith and his colleagues, detected: temporary reduction of neutrophil count in the blood with simultaneous increase concentration of creatine kinase in the athletes after the vigorous exercise. The simultaneous increase in the concentration of creatine kinase was direct outcome of damage to the myofibrills by the enzymes released from the neutrophils. The study also showed that this process happens exactly within a 2-hour time limit after the end of excessive exercise. This is what Dr. Smith and his associates, had to say in the conclusion of their article:

“During acute inflammation, blood flow slows as vessels dilate in an area of injury. When this occurs, the white blood cells, including neutrophils, are displaced from the central, axial zone of blood flow to the peripheral, plasmatic zone and subsequently marginate along the vessel walls. Since sport massage appears to increase blood flow through the vascular bed, the increased flow rate in the area of micro trauma could prevent the typical outward displacement of neutrophils. In addition, the mechanical action of sports massage could shear marginated cells from vessel walls and thus hinder emigration of cells from the circulation into tissues spaces.”

” …Control group exhibiting a more rapid and steeper increase CK (i.e. creatine kinase) values than the massage group” and “…Sports massage rendered two hours after termination of unaccustomed eccentric exercise reduces the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness and reduces serum creatine kinase levels.”

To replay the diagram please click at the beginning of the sliding bar (blue line) located just below the diagram.

Category: Sport Massage