Sports scientists believe that delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) experienced after intense exercise is caused by acute inflammation. Researchers at Democritus University of Thrace in Komotini, Greece decided to study the effects of small doses of ibuprofen on delayed-muscle soreness to see if this may help speed muscle recovery after eccentric exercise.

Nineteen subjects participated in this double-blind study. To induce DOMS, the subjects performed eccentric leg curls (6 sets of 10 repetitions at 100% 1 repetition max). Nine subjects took 400 milligrams of ibuprofen once every eight hours for the first 48 hours. The control group took a placebo pill during the same time frame.

Muscle soreness (assessed through a questionnaire) increased at 24 and 48 hours in both groups. However, the ibuprofen group rated the soreness as significantly less at both time periods. Maximal strength, range of motion, and vertical jump performance decreased in both groups at all measured times (4 – 6, 24, and 46 hours after exercise). These decreases are a clear sign that muscle is not fully recovered.

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White blood cell count (a sign of inflammation) and creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage) were measured at 4 – 6, 24, and 48 hours. White blood cell count significantly increased in both groups 4 – 6 hours after exercise. Creatine kinase levels were increased in both groups after 24 and 48 hours but were significantly lower in the ibuprofen group after 48 hours. The bottom line is taking Ibuprofen under these assessment conditions did not speed muscle recovery

This research did not examine Ibuprofen’s effect on protein synthesis rates, so we don’t know what effect consuming this small dose may have on muscle growth. Results of this study suggest that ibuprofen may decrease the perception of soreness induced by eccentric actions, but will not help speed muscle recovery or restore muscle function.

Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

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What affect does Ibuprophen have on muscle soreness and performance?

by Paul Cribb Ph.D. CSCS. time to read: 1 min