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Coffee can relieve muscular pain resulting from exercise

Posted by Dresonic on January 23, 2007

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ATHENS: Coffee can be an effective antidote to ease post-exercise muscle pain, according to new research. A study analyzing the effects of a caffeine supplement on a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, in nine young women found they reported less pain on days they took a caffeine supplement, equivalent of two cups of coffee followed by the workout.

DOMS is a common pain a day or two among people when they undertake more intense workout than normal. It is caused by eccentric contraction of the muscles as a result of the exercise. During the eccentric contraction, the muscle produces a force while it is being lengthened.

Though researchers have tried several antidotes for DOMS, including painkillers, these have not been found to be effective.The new study, carried out by researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens and reported in the Journal of Pain, examined how intake of caffeine supplement delayed or prevented the pain. The nine women were subjected to a simulated workout, when researchers used electrical stimulation to produce eccentric contractions in the thigh muscles — enough to cause DOMS. These women were administered either a caffeine pill or a placebo before the workout and it was continued for two days. It was found that the women reported significantly less muscle soreness during the workout when they took caffeine instead of the placebo.

According the lead author of the study, Victor Maridakis, caffeine blocks the activity of a chemical called adenosine, which is released as part of the inflammatory response to injury and which can activate pain receptors in body cells. The pain relief with caffeine is stronger than that from common painkiller drugs, he said.

He says the side-effects of caffeine use should be considered seriously before one starts with two cups of coffee before the start of the workout. Caffeine is known to cause anxiety, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, increased urination and disrupted sleep.

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