Caffeine has entered the fray of painkillers, especially the likes of Ibuprofen and Aspirin, which come in handy to relieve muscle soreness after a heavy work out or exercise. A new study has suggested that the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee, consumed before a work out, may ease muscle pain by 50%.
In the words of researcher Patrick O'Connor, of the department of kinesiology at the University of Georgia, Athens, '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.'
Researchers believe that the pain relieving character of caffeine may not work in people who are regular with beverages containing caffeine, or engage in regular exercise. The finding could be a blessing only to people who are in the initial phase of their work out regimen, during which time complaints of muscle soreness will be the most.
Researcher Victor Maridakis, of the University of Georgia, said, '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.'
During the study, nine lady students, not avid caffeine consumers or fitness buffs, were subjected with two different treatments, to gauge the effects of caffeine on muscle soreness after a heavy work-out. Some women received caffeine tablets corresponding to two cups of coffee, while some women got a placebo. This was given 24 and 48 hours after a rigorous session of resistance training, good enough to produce muscle pain.
Barely an hour after consuming the pills, the women were asked to exercise their sore quadricep muscles. The finding revealed that women, who had consumed caffeine, were benefited with 48% reduction in muscle pain as compared to the placebo group. In contrast, medicines containing naproxen portrayed a 30% decline in muscle pain and aspirin reduced muscle soreness by 25%.
However, researchers feel the need for detailed studies to fully comprehend the effects of caffeine. Till such time, researchers advice caution in the use of caffeine, as it could trigger nervousness or palpations and even cause sleep disturbances.
The results are published in The Journal of Pain.