Anti-Inflammatories: Good or Bad?

Anti-Inflammatories: Good or Bad?

📅February 20th, 2014, 01:30

So I have been guilty of this in the past: popping Aleve whenever my Achilles hurt or I felt overly sore after a workout.  Aleve is an anti-inflammatory, so I thought it would help my body recover and heal faster.  Well, after my long stay at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for my Achilles surgery rehab, I found out the real scoop on why you shouldn’t take anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) unless absolutely necessary.

Dr. Bill Moreau, who is the head doctor at the training center, told me that while NSAIDs do decrease inflammation and help with pain, they also inhibit your body’s natural healing response.  So when you are sore and your muscles are screaming after a particularly hard workout, taking an NSAID can actually limit your body’s response to that workout and hinder your ability to adapt and get faster.  Remember you are not actually faster or stronger right after a workout; your body’s response to that workout while it properly recovers is responsible for your improvements.  That is why recovery is so important, but that is another topic for another day.

Anyway, you don’t want to impede your body’s natural processes and mitigate the benefits you could get from that hard work you put in.  For this same reason, my surgeon in Sweden did not prescribe anti-inflammatories after my surgery, as well as the fact that NSAIDs increase the tendency to bleed.  They seem to rely less heavily on NSAIDs (or ice, which I found interesting) overseas, but it wasn’t until Dr. Moreau told me why that I understood.  Your body is an amazing machine, and you don’t want to interrupt it!

However, NSAIDs can be helpful in certain situations (I am not completely bashing them!).  Whenever you are experiencing an acute injury, then anti-inflammatories could be appropriate for the first three to four days after the onset of the pain.  When I overdid my training coming back from surgery and hurt my ankle (it wasn’t stable enough yet), the physical therapists prescribed Aleve for the first few days to knock out the swelling quicker.  They told me that I should never take them over four days, and only for certain situations.  I took them begrudgingly, and the anti-inflammatories did help in this case.  Since I am not a physician, you should consult your doctor when you get an injury to see if NSAIDs could help or hurt your body’s healing.  Also, you should be careful that you aren’t taking anti-inflammatories to mask pain from your injury.  Pain alerts you of your limits, and you could make the injury worse without realizing it if you don’t have your body’s natural alarm system working properly.

I hope this post helps you when you are thinking of taking your next NSAID.  Again, I am just sharing information that I learned from top doctors around the world that I wish I had knowledge of earlier.  Next week, I will be sharing the natural anti-inflammatories you can take or eat that won’t interfere with your body’s healing response.  I believe in living naturally, so I am excited to post about the foods and natural supplements that can help your body in the place of medications.

Check back soon!
Renee Metivier Baillie