Treating DOMS in Sport with NSAIDs

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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used by athletes of all ages and at all levels of competition, to treat muscle injuries and soreness from participation in sport. While studies suggest that NSAIDs may be beneficial for attenuating soreness and muscle dysfunction following certain types of eccentric exercise in some individuals, it is not conclusive because of gross inconsistencies in the literature. These inconsistencies exist because of differences in study designs, use of different drugs, dosages, and injury models. In addition to this review challenge, there are other concerns related to the safety of NSAID use in sport. Some findings have suggested that NSAIDs may actually hinder the healing process and may be counterproductive for long-term muscle adaptation. For athletes, proper healing and adaptation to exercise is crucial for performance and injury prevention.Another concern is that chronic NSAIDs use has been related to certain adverse effects, i.e. increased occurrence of gastrointestinal and kidney complications. More well-designed, randomised trials are needed to determine if NSAIDs are beneficial and safe for short-term and long-term muscle adaptation in sport. Data sources: Relevant research was identified using multiple databases (MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus). Keywords included were: DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle soreness, muscle injury, eccentric exercise, and muscle inflammation. Twenty-three articles that incorporated NSAID treatment of DOMS or muscle injury/dysfunction, healthy participants or animal models, and original research involving DOMS were included in this review.