Caffeine May Curb Post-Exercise Pain

(iVillage Total Health) - Caffeine might work better than popular pain relievers in reducing soreness after exercise, a small-scale study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Georgia studied nine female college students who did not regularly consume caffeine or participate in strength training. The women completed exercises that caused moderate muscle soreness. One and two days later, they were given either caffeine (equal to about two cups of coffee) or a placebo an hour before performing a thigh exercise.

Compared to the control group, those given the caffeine had 48 percent less pain after the maximum-force exercise and 26 percent less after the submaximal-force exercise.

The researchers concluded that caffeine appeared to be more effective in reducing post-exercise pain than aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. However, they cautioned that the results might not apply to people who regularly drink caffeine, that excess consumption produces side effects and that a larger-scale trial including men was needed.

Previous research at the university found that caffeine reduced thigh pain during moderate cycling. Caffeine appears to accomplish this by blocking receptors for an inflammatory chemical called adenosine, the researchers reported.

The study is scheduled to be published next month in The Journal of Pain.

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