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NSAIDs Do Not Block Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

by Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

To make muscles larger and stronger, you have to damage muscles by taking an intense workout on one day, by feeling sore on the next day, and by going easy for as many days as it takes for muscles to heal and the soreness to go away. This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Image from PulseToday
A report from the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (June 11, 2012. Abstract FRI0457) showed that in exercisers with DOMS, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ketoprofin (100 mg twice a day) increased the amount of pain and delayed healing. Celecoxib (Celebrex, 200mg twice a day) treatment diminished total pain slightly. The authors state that "the inflammatory reaction following muscle injury is essential for recovery"

This supports other studies showing that competitive athletes do not benefit from taking NSAIDs. For example, Ibuprofen did not reduce elevated cytokine levels that signify muscle damage in ultra-marathon runners (Brain Behav Immun 2005; 9: 398-403).

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