A team led by kinesiologist Victor Maridakis at the University of Georgia showed, with a small group of volunteers, that caffeine eases post-workout aches and soreness:
Maridakis and his colleagues studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine users and did not engage in regular resistance training. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the volunteers took either caffeine or a placebo and performed two different quadriceps (thigh) exercises, one designed to produce a maximal force, the other designed to generate a sub-maximal force. Those that consumed caffeine one-hour before the maximum force test had a 48 percent reduction in pain compared to the placebo group, while those that took caffeine before the sub-maximal test reported a 26 percent reduction in pain.
Caffeine has long been known to increase alertness and endurance, and a 2003 study led by UGA professor Patrick O’Connor found that caffeine reduces thigh pain during moderate-intensity cycling. O’Connor, who along with professors Kevin McCully and the late Gary Dudley co-authored the current study, explained that caffeine likely works by blocking the body’s receptors for adenosine, a chemical released in response to inflammation.
Sweet Starbucks, is there nothing caffeine can’t do? This study suggests the 5 mg / kg dose (appx 2 cups’ worth) works better than NSAIDs. And goes better with light cream.
More from the Journal of Pain (which sounds like a melancholy high schooler’s blog)…