Caffeine May Ease Workout Pain
Drinking Coffee May Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness After Workouts
Jan. 17, 2007 -- You may not want to put coffee in your sports bottle just
yet, but a new study suggests drinking the equivalent of two cups before
exercise may reduce postworkout muscle pain by nearly 50%.
Researchers say that's more muscle pain relief than commonly found with pain
relievers like aspirin.
"A lot of times what people use for muscle pain is aspirin or ibuprofen,
but caffeine seems to work better than those drugs, at least among women whose
daily caffeine consumption is low," researcher Patrick O'Connor, of the
department of kinesiology at the University of Georgia, Athens, says in a news
But caffeine's pain-relieving perks may not apply to those who regularly
drink coffee and other beverages containing caffeine. Instead, researchers say
caffeine appears to work best in people who don't regularly consume caffeine or
Therefore, they say, the findings may be most help to people new to exercise
-- who also tend to experience the most muscle soreness.
"If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to
transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program," says
researcher Victor Maridakis, of the University of Georgia, in the news
Caffeine's Pain-Relieving Perk
In this small study, researchers studied caffeine's effects on postworkout
muscle soreness in nine female college students who were not regular caffeine
users and did not regularly engage in resistance training. The results appear
in The Journal of Pain.
The women received tablets containing either the equivalent of two cups of
coffee or a placebo 24 and 48 hours after a resistance-training session
designed to produce muscle soreness.
An hour after taking the pills, the women were asked to perform two
different exercises using their sore quadricep (thigh) muscles. The results
showed that one hour after taking caffeine, the women experienced up to 48%
less muscle pain than the placebo group.
In comparison, O'Connor says previous studies of drugs containing naproxen
(the active ingredient in Aleve) produced a 30% reduction in muscle soreness,
and those using aspirin showed a 25% reduction.
Researchers say more study is needed to examine caffeine's effects on muscle
They recommend that people use caution when using caffeine before a workout.
Too much may produce side effects like jitteriness, heart palpitations, and
"It can reduce pain," says Maridakis, "but you have to apply
some common sense and not go overboard."