NSAIDs Hamper Athletic Performance

The use of painkillers is widespread in the athletic community

You would be hard pressed to find a sport that doesn’t involve athletes using non-steroidal. anti-inflammatory drugs, (NSAIDs: think advil, ibuprofen), to manage the natural pain that is associated with their level of physical activity. These drugs aim to inhibit the body’s production of prostaglandins which contribute to the perception of pain in the body. This is problematic to begin with because they block all prostaglandins, even the good ones which protect the stomach lining. But then the problem gets worse: 

  • NSAIDs lead to over-training syndrome by tricking your body into thinking it is not in pain, therefore causing you to push past the point of no return. 
  • When rehabilitating an injury, persistent use of NSAIDs is linked to actually slowing the rate of recovery for muscles and connective tissue. 

Is it injury, or the normal aches and pains of exercise?

This is a very important question that not enough athletes ask before reaching for the Advil. Exercising actually causes discomfort- the breakdown is necessary in order for your body to rebuild muscle. An acute injury, such as a sprained ligament or a strained tendon, is a different story altogether. In the case of acute injury, NSAID use may be recommended in order to combat the pain and inflammation which can hamper recovery. Even then, we should focus on taking the minimum-possible dose for a short period of time until natural recovery methods are completely effective. And what do these natural recovery methods look like? The tried and true: rest, diet and therapeutic stretching and exercise. 

Chiropractic care goes one further by helping you rehabilitate acute injuries in a natural manner. 

At our office in Houston, we focus on the following when it comes to rehabilitating acute injuries:

  • Restoring spinal alignment
  • Preventing scar tissue adhesion
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Increasing circulation

All of these help augment the body’s natural healing process; and when combined with therapeutic exercise and good diet, this may be a more effective response than the use of NSAIDs for every little pain. If you are interested in improving athletic performance without the side effects of painkilling drugs, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today.