For Athletes, Risks From Ibuprofen Use

There’s an interesting article on the use of ibuprofen before exercise:

But a valuable new study joins growing evidence that ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory painkillers taken before a workout don’t offer any benefit and may be causing disagreeable physical damage instead, particularly to the intestines. 

The potential damage to the intestines sounds quite significant:


Stay away from this stuff before exercise

The health implications of this finding are not yet clear, although they are worrying, Dr. van Wijck said. It may be that if someone uses ibuprofen before every exercise session for a year or more, she said, “intestinal integrity might be compromised.” In that case, small amounts of bacteria and digestive enzymes could leak regularly into the bloodstream.

This is exactly why topical pain relievers like BioFreeze, Sombra, and even Old Goat make so much sense. By avoiding the stomach and intestines, you avoid the risks described in this article. Even pain relieving patches are a better alternative to ibuprofen and other oral pain killers.

If you stop taking ibuprofen before exercise, and you feel a lot of pain, then reassess your exercise. Perhaps you can switch to a different exercise (i.e., reduce your running and increase your cycling). This is a far safer approach than simply popping more pills.

Remember, pain is your body telling you that it’s uncomfortable. Listen to it!