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Comparative analysis of high-intensity interval training and traditional rehabilitation programs for accelerated recovery from musculoskeletal injuries.

BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal injuries, such as strains, are prevalent across all age groups and have a substantial impact on daily functioning and quality of life.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with traditional rehabilitation programs on pain, range of motion (ROM), muscular strength, and functional changes in promoting accelerated recovery from musculoskeletal injuries.

METHODS: A total of 80 participants (54 males, 26 females; mean age 35.6 years) with various musculoskeletal injuries were randomly assigned to either the HIIT group (n= 40) or the traditional rehabilitation group (n= 40). The HIIT group underwent a six-week supervised program, with three sessions per week. The traditional rehabilitation group followed a similar six-week program emphasizing low to moderate intensity exercises and traditional rehabilitation techniques. Outcome measures, including pain levels, ROM, muscular strength, and functional outcomes, were assessed pre- and post-intervention.

RESULTS: Significant improvements were observed in both the HIIT and traditional rehabilitation groups. However, the HIIT group demonstrated superior outcomes. Participants in the HIIT group experienced a greater reduction in pain levels compared to the traditional rehabilitation group (mean visual analog scale (VAS) score decrease of 5.2 vs. 3.8, respectively, p< 0.05). Functional outcomes significantly favored the HIIT group, with participants achieving faster completion times in the Timed Up and Go test (mean reduction of 2.1 seconds vs. 1.5 seconds, respectively, p< 0.01) and longer distances in the Single Leg Hop test (mean increase of 32 cm vs. 25 cm, respectively, p< 0.05).

CONCLUSION: HIIT showed superior effectiveness over traditional rehabilitation in accelerating recovery from musculoskeletal injuries, with greater pain reduction and improved functional outcomes. Incorporating HIIT into rehabilitation protocols may offer an efficient approach for expedited recovery and enhanced functional capacity.

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