Should You Take a Painkiller for Gym-related Pain?

Your doozy of a workout has left you sidelined with an injury. Should you pop a pill? Some sports doctors warn that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) suppress a key part of healing—the body’s inflammatory response—ultimately prolonging injuries and discomfort. But research from Georgia State University suggests that ibuprofen and aspirin are just fine.

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“We found that the inflammatory suppression does not occur to an extent that adversely affects some strength or soreness during recovery,” says researcher Kimberly Morelli, clinical associate professor of physical therapy.

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Bottom line: If you strain your quads doing squats, pop an NSAID (400 to 800 milligrams) every six hours to manage pain. If the ache lasts longer than a few days, call your physician.

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