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Study: ibuprofen not good for exercise
Old 09-02-2009, 05:17 PM   #1
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Study: ibuprofen not good for exercise

I know some of us take ibuprofen and NSAID pain killers before, during and after exercise.

From a NYTimes article:

Quote:
"For a lot of athletes, taking painkillers has become a ritual,” says Stuart Warden, an assistant professor and director of physical therapy research at Indiana University, who has extensively studied the physiological impacts of the drugs. “They put on their uniform” or pull on their running shoes and pop a few Advil. “It’s like candy” or Vitamin I, as some athletes refer to ibuprofen.
After reading the article, I am not going to take ibuprofen before, during or after exercise again.
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:24 PM   #2
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For me it is a no. I cannot take the Advil's and other medicine in that group. I had an ulcer about 20 years ago and it showed up again 5 years ago. I had to test and it also showed signs of bleeding. Now the bad part is I have arthritis and some days it is hard to move. I am limited on what I can take. I used to take 2 advils a day and got great relief. Now what ? oldtrig
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:49 PM   #3
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Really? I have to take Ibuprofen or aspirin after a run, or I just hurt for a week. I don't run nearly that far, nor do I run fast, but I do run, and when I do, I have horrible pain on the inside of my calves. I think this may be more related to the weight I am asking my body to run with rather than the run itself. I suppose if I were lighter (which I why I run) that it would not hurt so bad, but I have to get lighter somehow. I've added some particular stretches that help, but without Ibuprofen or aspirin (Ibuprofen works better) I would have to just hang up the shoes. I try not to take either on an empty stomach anymore.

I've also had an ulcer, but doc says that was caused by H. pylori and exacerbated by stress (got plenty of that). Have not had any problems with Ibuprofen (or anything else) since getting better...but that's me.

Oldtrig, you may want to read Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley. He and his cohort (a doc whose name I can't remember) talk about the physiological processes that take place when we exercise and how the exercise even though painful at first helps to quell the pain of arthritis (among other things).

Oh, and I never take Advil, just the generic, at half the price.

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Old 09-02-2009, 05:57 PM   #4
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Well, I don't run (more like a trot/jog), but I wouldn't sleep a wink at night without my 3 Advil right before I go to bed. Now I'm worried about that. Um......
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:00 PM   #5
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My stomach burns real bad after I take Aleve or Advil. I cannot even take baby aspirin . A doctor told me 5 years ago never to take again. This is what is on the bottle of Aleve.
This product contains a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which may cause stomach bleeding. The chance is higher if you:
  • are age 60 or older
  • have had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems
  • I fit into both categories, 62 in age and have had bleeding ulcer.
  • I love the way these products relieve the pain but I cannot take the change of internal bleeding. oldtrig
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by oldtrig View Post
For me it is a no. I cannot take the Advil's and other medicine in that group. I had an ulcer about 20 years ago and it showed up again 5 years ago. I had to test and it also showed signs of bleeding. Now the bad part is I have arthritis and some days it is hard to move. I am limited on what I can take. I used to take 2 advils a day and got great relief. Now what ? oldtrig
Quote:
“When you have inflammation and pain from an acute injury,” Warden says. “In that situation, NSAIDs are very effective.” But to take them “before every workout or match is a mistake.”
"Doctor, it hurts when I don't take ibuprofen."
Dr. Groucho Marx: "Well, then, take your ibuprofen!"

I was told by an orthopedic surgeon that he had a choice of nearly two dozen different medications to combat swelling & pain, and that NSAIDs were considered the the most effective with the least side effects.

I use ibuprofen when I need it, but I can see how people get accustomed to taking it "just in case". While swelling and pain can be a body's normal responses to exercise, it can also become too conditioned to the swelling part. When ibuprofen didn't seem to be working well for me, I stepped up to naproxen. That didn't work as well (no pain relief) so I stepped back down to ibuprofen. Over the course of the next year, my knees stopped swelling so much and I tailed off the ibuprofen.

I wonder if the study looked at the loss of the pain feedback. Perhaps the athletes push harder and injure themselves because they don't feel the pain feedback. When I take ibuprofen before taekwondo sparring, I can go much longer and much harder-- so I do. I also notice the next morning that I've gone for a lot more bruises and overall bodily pain. When I don't take ibuprofen before sparring then I'm much more careful about walking into painful kicks & punches and I feel much better the next morning...
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:08 PM   #7
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It's worse than that. Check out this recent story about one of the premier ultramarathoners in the country, who went into acute renal failure after popping advil combined with dehydration during a 100k race last month.

Champion athlete from Ashland hit with hefty medical bills | MailTribune.com
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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I don't run or do strenuous exercise, so no problem here.
When I have bad enough aches from rapid weather changes or overdid it in the garden, I take only 2 of 325mg Bayer aspirin. Frequency is maybe once a week. No stomach issues.
My real pain reliever is my hot tub. For those without one, a good old fashioned soak in a tub is wonderful. Get one of those silly looking but invaluable inflatable bathroom pillows for your neck and head to rest against.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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I never thought about taking an ibuprofen before a work out. Of course I never work out so maybe that is why. I do go walking with the mutt and play lot's of golf, but pretty lucky as far as pain is concerned. I probably take no more than a couple of pain pills a week.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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It's worse than that. Check out this recent story about one of the premier ultramarathoners in the country, who went into acute renal failure after popping advil combined with dehydration during a 100k race last month.

Champion athlete from Ashland hit with hefty medical bills | MailTribune.com
I was just about to post on that topic. The kidneys can get beat up by any kind of NSAIDs, esp in high doses. But combined with dehydration it happens more often.

If that happens you may get lucky (moderate and limited kidney failure), less lucky (require dialysis for months) or really unlucky (dialysis for years and a kidney transplant if your number comes up).

If you need them, drink lots of fluid, take them only as needed, and only in recommended doses without your doc's OK. They are generally safe and effective but they are not candy.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:18 PM   #11
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I wonder if the study looked at the loss of the pain feedback. Perhaps the athletes push harder and injure themselves because they don't feel the pain feedback. When I take ibuprofen before taekwondo sparring, I can go much longer and much harder-- so I do. I also notice the next morning that I've gone for a lot more bruises and overall bodily pain. When I don't take ibuprofen before sparring then I'm much more careful about walking into painful kicks & punches and I feel much better the next morning...
That is exactly what concerns me about it. One fencing bout in college after I had taken some ibuprofen was really convincing. The next day I was extremely sore and was covered in bruises/welts. I do not bruise easily and generally did not from taking hits with a foil. Didn't feel much when I was wading into it.

Since then I have been very careful not to take I before a workout of any kind. I want to feel any pain so I know when to take it easy. And of course there is no drug in existence that does not have side effects or other minuses, so take 'em only when you must.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:50 PM   #12
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I thought the list of articles to the right of the painkiller article was very interesting, especially this:

The cheaper the drinks, the more likely college students are to leave a bar drunk, a new study shows.

Duh.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:39 PM   #13
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:19 AM   #14
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My mother's kidney docs told her that some of the damage to her kidneys that resulted in her requiring a transplant was from overuse of Advil. She also had type C hepatitis from needle stick as an RN, but the Advil was the topper.

I counsel my HD all the time about taking too much of it for his rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. He already takes Feldene.

Good article.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:53 AM   #15
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That's interesting, but you see the problem with this:

Those runners who’d popped over-the-counter ibuprofen pills before and during the race displayed significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response afterward than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories.


In other words: Runners who had so much inflammation that they felt that they needed ibuprofen had more inflammation that runners who didn't have inflammation.

I think it's possible the conclusion described in the NYT article is valid, but unless they controlled for the above problem, I don't see much support for it.

What they needed to do, of course, was go to each runner, and flip a coin to determine whether he/she would take ibuprofen.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
I was just about to post on that topic. The kidneys can get beat up by any kind of NSAIDs, esp in high doses. But combined with dehydration it happens more often.

If that happens you may get lucky (moderate and limited kidney failure), less lucky (require dialysis for months) or really unlucky (dialysis for years and a kidney transplant if your number comes up).

If you need them, drink lots of fluid, take them only as needed, and only in recommended doses without your doc's OK. They are generally safe and effective but they are not candy.
I had a recent health scare about a month ago. I had my annual physical exam and my blood test showed an elevated creatinine level. That can be an indicator of kidney disease/failure. It really scared me. Prior to that I had always taken ibuprofen for headaches and body aches. As mentioned above, ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. I was also taking a protein supplement which contained a small amount of creatine in it which probably also contributed to the high creatinine reading in my blood sample. Anyway, after 2-3 weeks of not taking ibuprofen or protein supplements, my blood creatinine level dropped back to the high normal range again. It really scared me and from now on I'll stick to acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of ibuprofen and try to only take it when I have a bad headache...because acetaminophen can cause liver damage. I guess the lesson for me was to attempt to minimize the medications and supplements I put in my body because they all have possible adverse side effects.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #17
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That's interesting, but you see the problem with this:
What they needed to do, of course, was go to each runner, and flip a coin to determine whether he/she would take ibuprofen.
They have a tough time determining whether correlation is causation or just selection bias.

The best way to reach a conclusion would be 500-1000 runners on double-blind doses of placebos and ibuprofen for a year or two.

In the meantime I'm going to keep taking it when I need it. I was plenty sore after last night's workout-- lots of spinning moves that are tough on the knees if I'm not careful-- but no swelling.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:12 AM   #18
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My knees, ankles and hips are a little sore after running. I was thinking of starting some sort of Ibuprofen, etc to combat the aches, but after ready all this I'll just stay pain-killer free.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:48 PM   #19
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Interesting article but not enough detailed data, as others have pointed out. Since dramatically increasing the exercise I do this last 4 years the aches and pains have been diminishing. I never take ibuprofen before I exercise but often do if I feel I need it afterwards although if I have time I will take a soak in the tub.

4 years back when I started playing singles tennis for the first time in 20 years I used to have to wear knee supports and a back brace and I would pop pills when I got in and soak in the tub. I couldn't play more than once a week because of painful knees and back. But as time moved on I found I could play twice a week and more, plus I no longer need strapping on the knees (I still wear a back brace) and this last few months I now run on a treadmill a couple of times a week. A couple of weeks back I played tennis on 3 successive days including an exhausting 3.5 hour session, but I was back on court at 6:30am next morning.

I still will take ibuprofen sometimes but it is no longer a given. The article confirms what my gut feeling has always been - the body is a wonderful thing and often can heal and anesthetize itself so I try not to use pills too often - sort of giving it a first shot.
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