Hyperbaric oxygen did not improve recovery from muscle soreness following exercise

Clinical Bottom Line:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy had no beneficial effect on exercise-induced muscle soreness following eccentric exercise.

Citation: Babul S, Rhodes EC, Taunton J, Lepawsky M. Effects of intermittent exposure to hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of acute soft tissue injury. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 2003; 13:138-147.
Lead author's name: Shelina Babul sbabul@uw.bc.ca

Three-part Clinical Question: For individuals complaining of muscle soreness following eccentric exercise, does the application of hyperbaric oxygen, compared to no specific treatment, result in accelerated recovery or return of muscle function?
Search Terms: Delayed onset muscle soreness, athletic injuries, exercise

The Study:
Single-blinded randomised controlled trial intention-to-treat not stated.
The Study Patients: Adult female volunteers with no recent history of weight training or leg-intensive exercise (eg skiing).
Control group (N = 8; 8 analysed): Baseline investigation followed by a standard eccentric exercise for the quadriceps muscle of the nondominant leg. Compression to 1.2ATA breathing air with return to 1ATA for a 60 minute sham treatment at 4, 24, 48 and 72 hours after exercise.
Experimental group (N = 8; 8 analysed): As above, but breathed 100% oxygen at 2ATA for the 4 treatment sessions.

The Evidence:
Non-event outcomes
Time to outcome
Difference between groups
95% CI
Pain (VAS 1-10)
24 hours
0.65 (+/- 0.73)
2.23 to 0.93
Strength (max eccentric torque Nm)
24 hours
-25.75 (+/- 12.64)
52.8 to 1.35
Thigh circumference (cm)
24 hours
1.18 (+/- 3.1)
-7.83 to 5.17

1. 2-way ANOVA used for most outcomes because of repeated measures. (That is source of P-values above).
2. Powered for approximately 80% chance to detect a 20% difference between groups.
3. Only differences reported rather than actual result in each group, direction not clear.
4. No differences in serum creatine kinase, MRI findings or products of lipid peroxidation.

Appraised by: Mike Bennett, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney Australia Friday, 17 October 2003
Email: m.bennett@unsw.edu.au
Kill or Update By: March 2021