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A promising approach to effectively reduce cramp susceptibility in human muscles: a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

ABSTRACT: To investigate if the cramp threshold frequency (CTF) can be altered by electrical muscle stimulation in a shortened position.A total of 15 healthy male sport students were randomly allocated to an intervention (IG, n?=?10) and a non-treatment control group (CG, n?=?5). Calf muscles of both legs in the IG were stimulated equally twice a week over 6 weeks. The protocol was 3×5 s on, 10 s off, 150 µs impulse width, 30 Hz above the individual CTF, and was at 85% of the maximal tolerated stimulation energy. One leg was stimulated in a shortened position, inducing muscle cramps (CT), while the opposite leg was fixated in a neutral position at the ankle, hindering muscle cramps (nCT). CTF tests were performed prior to the first and 96 h after the 6(th) (3 w) and 12(th) (6 w) training session.After 3 w, the CTF had significantly (p<0.001) increased in CT calves from 23.3±5.7 Hz to 33.3±6.9 Hz, while it remained unchanged in nCT (pre: 23.6±5.7 Hz, mid: 22.3±3.5 Hz) and in both legs of the CG (pre: 21.8±3.2 Hz, mid: 22.0±2.7 Hz). Only CT saw further insignificant increases in the CTF. The applied stimulation energy (mA² • µs) positively correlated with the effect on the CTF (r?=?0.92; p<0.001).The present study may be useful for developing new non-pharmacological strategies to reduce cramp susceptibility.German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00005312.

SUBMITTER: Behringer M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3984281 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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