The Effect of Magnesium Sulfate on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness




Byerley, Nathan

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Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common condition experienced in athletes due to unaccustomed work loads. Symptoms of this condition are usually exacerbated between 24-48 hours post exercise and include decreased muscular strength and range of motion, and increased edema, perceived pain, and perceived disability. Typical treatment protocol for DOMS is cryotherapy; however, evidence supports the lack of recovery following such treatments. Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) has been used for many years to treat muscle soreness, but has only been anecdotally proven to decrease muscle soreness. The purpose of this study was to determine if magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) and thermotherapy are effective treatments for DOMS. Twenty-six healthy young males and females (n<sub>m</sub>= 14, n<sub>f</sub>=12, 16.04±1.08 yrs, 172.54±8.13 cm, 72.42±18.99 kg) volunteered to participate in this research. Subjects were randomly selected to be in one of three groups. Group 1 was the control group and received no treatment (n<sub>control</sub>=8). Group 2 was treated with hot water immersion (HWI) (n<sub>HWI</sub>=9). Group 3 was treated with Epsom salt dissolved in hot water (EHWI) (n<sub>EHWI</sub>=9). There were significant decreases in perceived pain (GPRS), F(2,23) = 8.98, p<0.01, and perceived disability (DASH), F(2,23) = 3.89, p=0.035. Tukey's Post Hoc Test showed significant decreases in perceived pain (GPRS) from the control in HWI, p=0.002, and in EHWI, p=0.007. There was a significant decrease in perceived disability (DASH) from the control in HWI, p=0.027; however, not with EHWI. Neither perceived pain nor perceived disability was seen when comparing HWI and EHWI. It was concluded that both thermotherapy and Epsom salt soak reduces perceived pain and disability as opposed to receiving no treatment. However, no differences were seen between HWI and EHWI; therefore, the Epsom salt had no effect in the treatment.



epsom salt, thermotherapy, hot water immersion, magnesium, calcium


Byerley, N. (2010). The effect of magnesium sulfate on delayed onset muscle soreness (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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