Preliminary comparison of bromelain and Ibuprofen for delayed onset muscle soreness management

Clin J Sport Med. 2002 Nov;12(6):373-8. doi: 10.1097/00042752-200211000-00009.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a common bromelain regimen or common ibuprofen regimen are effective in resolving pain and muscle dysfunction associated with delayed onset muscle soreness of the elbow flexors.

Design: A randomized, double-blinded, repeated measures design was used for this study.

Setting: The study was performed in the Sports Injury Research Lab at an NCAA Division I university.

Participants: Forty subjects who had not participated in an upper body resistance-training program 3 months prior to the study, suffered pain or injury in the nondominant arm, or experienced an adverse response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pineapple (bromelain source) were recruited. Thirty-nine subjects finished the study.

Interventions: Active range of motion (ROM), perceived pain, and peak concentric torque measurements of the nondominant arm were taken prior to and 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours following an eccentric exercise protocol of the elbow flexors. Subjects were assigned to one of four treatment groups (bromelain 300 mg t.i.d., ibuprofen 400 mg t.i.d., placebo t.i.d., and control) and began treatment immediately following the exercise protocol.

Main outcome measures: No differences among treatments were observed for any of the dependent variables at any time. ROM deficits and pain peaked between 48 and 72 hours. Peak torque deficiencies were observed between 24 and 72 hours.

Conclusions: Ingestion of bromelain and ibuprofen had no effect on elbow flexor pain, loss of ROM, or loss of concentric peak torque as a result of an eccentric exercise regimen.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bromelains / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Probability
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity


  • Bromelains
  • Ibuprofen