• Central muscle relaxant;
  • Randomized clinical trial;
  • Post-exercise muscle soreness;
  • Experimental muscle pain;
  • Isometric force;
  • EMG


The role of tolperisone hydrochloride, a centrally acting muscle relaxant in relieving painful muscle spasm is recently being discussed. The present study hypothesizes that the prophylactic use of tolperisone hydrochloride may effectively relieve post-exercise muscle soreness, based on the spasm theory of exercise pain. Twenty male volunteers, aged 25.2±0.82 years (mean±SEM) participated in 10 sessions in which they received oral treatment with placebo or the centrally acting muscle relaxant tolperisone hydrochloride (150 mg) three times daily for 8 days, in randomized crossover double-blind design. Time course assessments were made for pressure pain threshold, Likert's pain score (0–5), pain areas, range of abduction, isometric force, and electromyography (EMG) root mean square (RMS) during maximum voluntary isometric force on day 1 and 6, immediately after an eccentric exercise of first dorsal interosseous muscle, and 24 and 48 h after the exercise. Treatment with placebo or tolperisone hydrochloride was initiated immediately after the assessments on the first day baseline assessments. On the sixth day baseline investigations were repeated and then the subjects performed six bouts of standardized intense eccentric exercise of first dorsal interosseous muscle for provocation of post-exercise muscle soreness (PEMS). Perceived intensity of warmth, tiredness, soreness and pain during the exercise bouts were recorded on a 10 cm visual analogue pain scale. VAS scores and pressure pain thresholds did not differ between tolperisone and placebo treatment. All VAS scores increased during the exercise bouts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 as compared to bout 1. Increased pain scores and pain areas were reported immediately after, 24 and 48 h after exercise. Pressure pain thresholds were reduced at 24 and 48 h after the exercise in the exercised hand. Range of abduction of the index finger was reduced immediately after the exercise and was still reduced at 24 h as compared to the non-exercised hand. The EMG RMS amplitude was also reduced immediately after the exercise, but was increased at 24 and 48 h. Isometric force was reduced immediately after the exercise as compared to days 1, 6, and the 24 and 48 h post-exercise assessments with a greater reduction following the tolperisone hydrochloride treatment and the reduction was more in tolperisone group as compared to the placebo group. The results suggest, that the prophylactic intake of tolperisone hydrochloride provides no relief to pain in course of post-exercise muscle soreness but results in reduction in isometric force.