The effects of ibuprofen on delayed muscle soreness and muscular performance after eccentric exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):53-9. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0053:teoiod>;2.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of ibuprofen on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), indirect markers of muscle damage and muscular performance. Nineteen subjects (their mean [+/- SD] age, height, and weight was 24.6 +/- 3.9 years, 176.2 +/- 11.1 cm, 77.3 +/- 18.7 kg) performed the eccentric leg curl exercise to induce muscle soreness in the hamstrings. Nine subjects took an ibuprofen pill of 400 mg every 8 hours within a period of 48 hours, whereas 10 subjects received a placebo randomly (double blind). White blood cells (WBCs) and creatine kinase (CK) were measured at pre-exercise, 4-6, 24, and 48 hours after exercise and maximal strength (1 repetition maximum). Vertical jump performance and knee flexion range of motion (ROM) were measured at pre-exercise, 24 and 48 hours after exercise. Muscle soreness increased (p < 0.05) in both groups after 24 and 48 hours, although the ibuprofen group yielded a significantly lower value (p < 0.05) after 24 hours. The WBC levels were significantly (p < 0.05) increased 4-6 hours postexercise in both groups with no significant difference (p > 0.05) between the 2 groups. The CK values increased (p < 0.05) in the placebo group at 24 and 48 hours postexercise, whereas no significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed in the ibuprofen group. The CK values of the ibuprofen group were lower (p < 0.05) after 48 hours compared with the placebo group. Maximal strength, vertical jump performance, and knee ROM decreased significantly (p < 0.05) after exercise and at 24 and 48 hours postexercise in both the placebo and the ibuprofen groups with no differences being observed (p > 0.05) between the 2 groups. The results of this study reveal that intake of ibuprofen can decrease muscle soreness induced after eccentric exercise but cannot assist in restoring muscle function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Leg
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Ibuprofen