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Efficacy of cryoflow therapy in induced muscle soreness: a randomized trial



An individual experiencing delayed-onset muscle soreness notices pain and aching within the affected muscles, decreased range of motion, and loss in muscle strength beginning 12–24 h after exercise, peaking between 48 and 72 h, and subsiding within 5–7 days after exercise. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of locally applied cryoflow therapy on pain and function in induced muscle soreness of nondominant elbow flexors.

Participants and methods

Sixty healthy individuals participated in this study. They were divided randomly into two groups, 30 in each group. Pre-exercise measures were recorded for pressure pain threshold using a pressure algometer and level of limitation using Patient-Rated Elbow Evaluation. Participants performed free-weight curl exercises until fatigue using a 10-lb dumbbell at a tempo of 1 s for the concentric phase and 3 s for the eccentric phase to induce muscle soreness. Group A underwent cryoflow therapy administered immediately after exercise using a ShockMaster ICE-CT cryotherapy device at 12°C for 10 min once a day for 4 days. Group B underwent cold treatment using a flexible gel pack for 10 min once a day for 4 days. Dependent variables were assessed at 0, 24, 48, and 72 h after exercise.


Statistically significant differences were found between both groups for pain using pressure threshold and pain level of the Patient-Rated Elbow Evaluation scale at 48 and 72 h (P = 0.01, 0.002, and 0.0006, 0.0001, respectively); for the functional scale, statistically significant differences were found only at 72 h (P = 0.0001).


Cryoflow therapy was superior in overcoming delayed-onset muscle soreness than the use of a cryogel pack in case of induced muscle soreness.


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Correspondence to Salah Eldin B. Elsayed.

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Elsayed, S.E.B., Raoof, N.A.A. & Abdallah, N.S. Efficacy of cryoflow therapy in induced muscle soreness: a randomized trial. Bull Fac Phys Ther 20, 137–145 (2015).

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  • cryoflow therapy
  • cryotherapy
  • delayed-onset muscle soreness
  • eccentric exercise