by Dr. Noel Peterson, ND, DAAPM

As an “older” athlete, I’m often asked what I do to control pain so that I can exercise. My answer is usually “What pain?”. 

Maybe it’s just good luck (I doubt it, I’ve broken more bones than I care to count), or possibly my attitude (not really, I’m just as big a whiner as the next bloke), but I generally do not experience pain related to exercise. I’ve known lot’s of people who refer to Advil as vitamin “A”, and I even know a group of windsurfing dentists who go by the moniker “Club Advil”.  As doctors and members of the bio-medical elite , they should know better.

Ibuprofen, it turns out, is no friend to those who exercise. Decades of research have shown that while ibuprofen controls pain, it does so at an unacceptable cost to your health. In addition to inhibiting the very repair needed after wear-and-tear athletics, ibuprofen actually causes inflammation.

ibuprofen hurts exercise

And Americans take a lot of ibuprofen: 30 billion doses every year. An article in the NY Times points out just how bad an idea it can be to take ibuprofen more than occasionally. After reading this article you’ll think twice before taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDS.

Of course there are times when taking ibuprofen short term can be helpful. A dose once or twice a month is not going to cause problems. But 30 billion doses a year?

PS: I do take an herbal product for my joints that contains Theracurmin, a high absorbable curcumin, which really does decrease wear-and-tear inflammation, while at the same time up-regulating collagen repair and synthesis. Maybe that’s why I do not have pre or post exercise pain!