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Effect of caffeine consumption and aerobic exercise on delayed onset muscle soreness.

INTRODUCTION

Muscle soreness and pain is a common experience after physical exercise and is followed by restricted movement, stiffness, pain, protrusion, and weakness [4, 5, 8, & 12]. There are two types of muscle soreness: chronic and delayed. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is felt several hours or days after strenuous exercise. Many people who engage in sports or physical exercises somehow experience DOMS. It usually start at 8 hours after exercise and peakswithin 24 to 48 hours [4]. The pains subside and disappear within 5 to 7 days post-exercise. Pain, stiffness, tenderness, and weakness are some of the symptoms of DOMS [15, 18, 22, & 26].

The mechanism for delayed onset muscle soreness is not fully understood. Some believe that DOMS is the result of efflux of intramuscular ions, proteins, and extracellular fluid in muscle fibrils. Others argue that the sensation of pain is due to the biochemical substances released from damaged cells and stimulation of pain receptors [22].

This phenomenon restricts the performance of athletes and reduces their efficiency. At times the pain and stress caused by DOMS is transferred to other members of the team and the coach, thus having a negative effect on the efficiency of the team. One of the concerns of coaches, physiotherapists, and other practitioners in sports medicine is to prevent DOMS or at least minimize its consequences in the short-term.

Effective treatment procedures can improve the performance of the athlete and accelerate the return of non-athletes to their daily activities. Different solutions have been proposed to treat DOMS, including heat therapy, cryotherapy, massage, electrical stimulation, medication, oxygen therapy, and pressure therapy [12]. These treatments are used to prevent the release of enzymes in blood, reduce pain, and increase the person's tolerance to pain. However, none of these methods have been successful in eliminating the pain caused by DOMS.

The theory that DOMS can be reduced by physical exercise has been investigated over the past few years [14, 16, & 17]. Slow movement is probably the most effective way of reducing swelling and accumulation of fluid in the injured muscle by increasing range of motion and applying pressure to the injured part [1]. Hasson, Barnes, Hunter, and Williams (1989) reported reduced muscle soreness and increased muscular performance following sub-maximal concentric exercise [14]. Researchers have found that maximal voluntary contraction decreases the pain caused by DOMS [14, 16, & 17].

Little research has examined the effect of caffeine on muscle injury. Caffeine is a water-soluble alkaloid in crystalline form which can be found in coffee, chocolate, and some carbonated beverages [20, 22, & 27]. Caffeine can be effective in reducing pain by inhibiting adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a molecule in the brain that, when bound to its receptors, causes fatigue, pain, and drowsiness. This binding can also cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate to let more oxygen into this organ during sleep. When more adenosine molecules bind to the receptors in the brain, the feelings of fatigue, pain, and drowsiness become stronger [9, 19, & 23]. Adenosine is also released in response to injury and activates nociceptors in body cells [21]. Excessive consumption of caffeine, however, is followed by anxiety, palpitation, blood pressure, and urination, and insomnia [10-25]. Maridakis et al. (2006) examined the effect of caffeine consumption on DOMS in 9 women and showed that caffeine can reduce the pain resulting from eccentric exercise-induced, delayed-onset muscle injury [25].

As noted above, DOMS is usually caused by unaccustomed or strenuous exercise, especially when the exercise involved repeated eccentric contractions [6, 7, 24, & 26]. Few studies have addressed the effect of aerobic exercise on DOMS caused by eccentric contractions [2]. Moreover, the only study that examined the effect of caffeine on DOMS used caffeine pills, while the present research will use the caffeine in coffee. Indeed people react less negatively to coffee than medication. This paper examines the effect of caffeine consumption at five stages (1 mg per kg body weight) and stepping exercise (15 minutes) on the perceived pain following delayed onset muscle soreness.

Methodology:

In this quasi-experimental, double-blind study, 24 female volleyball players (22.5 [+ or -] 2.5 yrs.; 163 [+ or -] 0.5 cm height; 53.5 [+ or -] 0.8 kg weight) volunteered to participate and completed a demographics and a health condition questionnaire. The subjects had no history of cardiovascular disease or neuromuscular disorder and they had been participating in regular exercise for at least one year. The subjects were randomly divided into three groups: caffeine, aerobic exercise, and control. The subjects in the caffeine group ingested one cup of coffee containing 1 mg of caffeine per kg body weight 12 and 24 hours before the exercise. The subjects in the aerobic exercise group and the control group ingested a placebo. Then, they completed Talag's Pain Scale. The drinks were once again ingested by the subjects before the exercise.

After 10 minutes of warm-up, the subjects in each group performed an eccentric exercise consisting of jumping from a 1-m platform with 50 repetitions and with 30-second intervals. It must be noted that muscle soreness induced by this method of exercise was tested and verified three weeks earlier. Immediately after the exercise, the subjects in the aerobic exercise group performed a stepping exercise on a 3.20 cm step for 15 minutes in sync with a rhythm recorded on tape with metronome (120 steps in the first 3 minutes, 114 steps in the second 3 minutes, 102 steps in the third 3 minutes, 84 steps in the fourth 3 minutes, and 66 steps in the fifth 3 minutes). During this period, the caffeine group and the control group were in the passive resting state.

Immediately and 12 hours after exercise, all the subjects ingested their respective drinks and once again completed Talag's Pain Scale. The subjects were instructed to go home after the test and perform their daily activities. They were also instructed not to take any painkillers and to attend the gym 24 hours later for post-test measurements. The data were analyzed using analysis of variance, Tukey's post-hoc test, and independent t-test.

Results:

To examine the effect of caffeine and aerobic exercise on perceived pain, changes in the intensity of pain after eccentric exercise were examined in the control group and then compared with the caffeine group and the aerobic exercise group. The results show that after the eccentric exercise, perceived pain has significantly increased in the control group within the first 24 hours (118.04 percent), and all the difference observed between stages were significant.

The results also show that perceived pain has significantly increased in the caffeine group within the first 24 hours (124.30 percent). This may suggest that consumption of caffeine has had no significant effect on perceived pain as a symptom of muscle soreness. However, changes in perceived pain from the period before the exercise to 24 horns after it were compared and a significant difference was observed between the two group (p = 0.003). Thus, it can be concluded that caffeine consumption has a significant effect on perceived pain following eccentric contractions.

The aerobic exercise group also experienced a significant increase in perceived pain within 24 hours after exercise (50.06 percent). This indicates that the mean perceived pain in the aerobic exercise group is significantly lower than that of the control group (p = 0.0001). For further analysis, the changes in perceived pain from the period before the exercise to 24 horns after it were examined and a significant difference was observed between the aerobic exercise group and the control group (p = 0.0001). It can thus be concluded that aerobic exercise is effective in reducing perceived pain following eccentric contractions.

Analysis of variance was used to examine the effect of caffeine consumption and aerobic exercise on perceived pain within 24 hours after eccentric exercise (Table 5).

As the results in Table 5 show, a significant difference can be observed between different groups in the intensity of perceived pain. Tukey's test was applied to examine differences between each two groups (Table 6).

The results in Table 6 indicate that there is a significant difference between the effects of the applied treatments, and aerobic exercise proved to be more effective than caffeine consumption in reducing perceived pain following eccentric contractions.

Discussion:

The caffeine molecule is structurally similar to adenosine and it can bind to adenosine receptors on the surface of cells without activating them. This can inhibit the binding of adenosine to these receptors and thus reduce fatigue following muscle damage [12, 20, 23, & 25]. Moreover, this increases free adenosine, thus increasing blood flow to muscles and leading to faster removal of waste and inflammatory substances. Consumption of caffeine proved effective in reducing pain caused by DOMS and this finding is consistent with the results of Maridakis (2006) [25].

Performing 15 minutes of aerobic exercise as an active recovery after eccentric exercise led to significant decrease in perceived pain. Apparently this effect is due to fast removal of waste substances [3-11]. Low-intensity aerobic exercise accelerated the removal of pain-causing substance by increasing cardiac output, improving blood flow in muscles, and providing sufficient oxygen for the involved muscles. The present findings are consistent with the results of Rahimi (2005), Jones (2000), and Eston et al. (1996).

Considering the positive effect of both caffeine consumption and aerobic exercise in reducing DOMS, it is recommended that coaches and physiotherapists use these methods to reduce pains and prevent athletes and non-athletes from being discouraged after strenuous physical exercise. Of course excessive consumption of caffeine must be avoided due to its negative effects on blood pressure, heart rate, etc.

ARTICLE INFO

Article history:

Received 4 September 2013

Received in revised form 24 October 2013

Accepted 5 October 2013

Available online 14 November 2013

REFERENCES

[1] Omrani, A., 1996. "A study of the clinical and functional outcomes of delayed muscle soreness", Master's Thesis, Iran University of Medical Sciences.

[2] Daniels, J.W., P.A. Mole, J.D. Shaffrath, C.L. Stebbins, 1998. "Effects of caffeine on blood pressure, heart rate, and forearm blood flow during dynamic leg exercise", Journal of Applied Physiology, 85: 154-159.

[3] Kalmar, J.M., E. Cafarelli, 1999. "Effects of caffeine on neuromuscular function", Journal of Applied Physiology, 87: 801-808.

[4] Lopes, J.M., M. Aubier, J. Jardim, J.V. Aranda, P.T. Macklem, 1983. "Effect of caffeine on skeletal muscle function before and after fatigue", Journal of Applied Physiology, 87(54): 1303-1305.

[5] Maridakis, V., P.J. O'Connor, G.A. Dudley, K.K. McCully, 2006. "Caffeine attenuates delayed-onset muscle pain and force loss following eccentric exercise", Journal of Pain, 8: 237-43.

[6] Armstrong, R.B., 1990. "Initial events in exercise-induced muscular injury", Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 22: 429-35.

[7] Clarkson, P.M., W.C. Byrnes, E. Gillisson, E. Harper, 1987. "Adaptation to exercise-induced muscle damage", Clinical Science, 73: 383-6.

[8] Clarkson, P.M., K. Nosaka, B. Braun, 1992. "Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation", Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24: 512-520.

[9] Cleak, M.J., R.G. Eston, 1992. "Delayed onset muscle soreness: mechanisms and management", Journal of Sports Science, 10: 325-341.

[10] Karbaleifar, S., M. Nasiri, M. Salehian, 2011. "The effects of caffeine on perceived pain of muscles", Annals of Biological Research, 2: 16-21.

[11] Maughan, R.J., M. Gleeson, P.L. Greenhaff, 1997. "Biochemistry of Exercise and Training", Oxford: University Press.

Masoomeh Nobahar

Payamenoor University, Iran

Corresponding Author: Masoomeh Nobahar, Payamenoor University, Iran.

Table 1: The results of ANOVA for the creatine kinase
data of the control group.

Variance         Sum of      Mean     Observed   Sig.
                Squares    Squares       F

Between-Group   10571.01   5371.291    10.17     0.001
Within-Group     10.946    519.998
Total           21517.83

Table 2: The results of Tukey's test for the creatine kinase
data of the control group.

                     24 Hours     Immediately   Immediately
                       after         after         after
                    Consumption   Consumption    Exercise

Before Exercise      -52.01 *       -14.60        -14.62
                     0.001 **        0.097         0.147
Immediately after     -67.62        -29.22
  Exercise             0.049         0.178
Immediately after     -37.48
  Consumption          0.037

* Difference, ** Significance

Table 3: Analysis of variance of the CK data of the
experimental group.

Variance         Sum of      Mean     Observed F   Significance
                 Squares    Squares                   Level

Between-Group    3831.00    1914.55     6.069         0.008
Within-Group    6635.655    317.780
Total           10466.655

Table 4: The results of Tukey's test for the CK data of the
experimental group.

                     24 Hours     Immediately   Immediately
                       after         after         after
                    Consumption   Consumption    Exercise

Before Exercise      -27.25 *       -36.15         -10.5
                     0.007 **        0.117         0.543
Immediately after     -17.65        -26.43
  Exercise             0.073         0.334
Immediately after      -9.12
  Consumption          0.187

* Difference, ** Significance

Table 5: The results of ANOVA of perceived pain.

Variance        Sum of     Mean     Observed F    Sig.
                Squares   Squares

Between-Group   235.026   78.342     183.145     0.0001
Within-Group    11.977     0.428
Total           247.003

Table 6: The results of Tukey's test for
differences in perceived pain between groups.

Group       Aerobic    Caffeine
           Exercise

Control    -3.156 *     -0.489
           0.0001 **    0.597
Caffeine     2.668
            0.0001

* Difference, ** Significance
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Author:Nobahar, Masoomeh
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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