Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs following exercise-induced muscle injury

Sports Med. 2003;33(3):177-85. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200333030-00002.


The objective of this article is to examine the use of NSAIDs for attenuating exercise-induced muscle injuries (EIMI), with an emphasis on their safety and usefulness for improving muscle function and reducing soreness. NSAIDs are some of the most widely consumed medications in the world, and NSAID use as therapy for EIMI has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. However, there is a lack of agreement concerning NSAID effectiveness for this purpose. The lack of consensus about the efficacy of NSAID use in relation to EIMI has spawned a recent interest in sports medicine research regarding NSAIDs. The application of a variety of methods used to induce, assess and quantify muscle injury has contributed to the inconsistency among the findings regarding the efficacy of NSAIDs for EIMI. Therefore, future studies should focus on the evaluation of muscle injury and function, with the use of better functional measurement tools and more uniformity in the assessment tools used. However, from review of the current literature, it is concluded that NSAID use for brief periods of time is beneficial for short-term recovery of muscle function and is an important laboratory tool for the study of EIMI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Sprains and Strains / drug therapy*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology


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