Why is it we can use anesthesia to block out pain receptors, but we don’t use a form of anesthesia to help with after work out pain?



Why is it we can use anesthesia to block out pain receptors, but we don’t use a form of anesthesia to help with after work out pain?

In: Chemistry


Pain is the bodies warning system. We feel pain to earn us to stop doing what we are doing.

Blocking pain for working out would lead to people damaging muscles since they would not be able to tell that muscle is done


It would work; you could. But no one does because anesthesia is risky. It carries a risk of bad reactions and crippling addiction. If someone is in enough pain to make the anesthesia worth that risk, they are injured.

Well, you could, if you wanted to.

You’d need a doctor to not accidentally die. And it would demolish your sleep cycle. And the side effects would be bad enough to ruin every workout right after you did it. But yeah, you COULD do it.

EDIT: By the way, if you’re sore for days and days after your workout, then you’re going too hard. You don’t get big at the gym, you get big in your bed sleeping and healing. The gym is where you break things down. So if you aren’t healing well, *then you aren’t growing*, period. When I trained guys, the first thing I did was work on their diet and sleep cycles, as improving those alone will get most gym rats better results without even touching their current workouts.

As with nearly everything, there is a cost and a benefit and in this case, it isn’t a dollar cost but the cost in terms of potential side effects.

Even OTC pain killers have side effects and overuse makes it worse. So if there is only temporary benefits but potentially bad side effects, generally medication is not recommended.

The kind of anesthesia used in hospitals, by the way, are really strong medications and cannot be used without supervision by medical professionals. It is unlikely that for a relatively minor situation like muscle aches after a workout that it would be recommended.

The options are local or general anaesthetic. Sports generally stress large parts of the body and not just near the surface so local anaesthetic would not be particularly effective.

General anaesthetic is much more complex and dangerous to administer, and would also impair the athlete’s ability to recover, for example by stretching or feeding themself.

There are certain sports where pain relief is commonly taken, for example in high level singlehanded offshore yacht racing it is common to take painkillers from the start.

Taking pain relief over long periods has damaging effects especially to your kidneys so taking drugs unnecessarily could be detrimental to an athlete’s career.

Anesthesia is a very delicate thing to administer, so you’d need an anesthesiologist – you can’t just eye-ball a dose. IIRC we don’t yet fully understand the mechanisms that cause it to work on the body, outside of it blocking synapses (I’m no doctor, I could be misinformed).

Also, having a stab yourself with painkillers after a workout would be something a lunatic would do.


You typically don’t use anesthesia in the manner you are saying. You use analgesics; this is probably what you meant. The answer is…you can, and people do.

Analgesic: Painkiller

Anesthesia: Controlled or temporary loss of awareness or sensation

You can use anesthetics for pain control, but that is for some awful bad post surgical or post trauma pain. Those drugs come with a whole list of side effects that you would rather not deal with unless you really have to. Post-workout pain will never be that bad. For that, just some tylenol or advil will do you good.

Everyone is confusing anesthesia with analgesia, which doesn’t really matter for this question. but Tylenol is not an anesthetic (which is a drug that prevents sensation), it is a Analgesic (drug that prevents pain). One incredibly common work out treatment is ben-gay which use methyl salicylate, which is actually metabolized in the body in salicylic acid. This is a very common Analgesic, found in willow bark tea, and the famous drug, Aspirin.

Also You can get anesthesia for work out pain. It’s pretty common for lidocaine patches to be used after a hard work out. Lido is a Sodium Channel Blocker that inhibits the Sodium signals in nueron transmission, so it is an anesthetic. So that’s OP’s question and the answer is, we do.

Well, first of all, if you’re in pain (not soreness) after you work out, you are definitely doing something wrong. That is a blood-red flag to stop what you’re doing.

Second, whatever you do to yourself isn’t something to be drowned out, it’s something to be felt. You gotta know what you’re doing to yourself, or you’re gonna hurt yourself more.