athletic performance

How Painkillers Hamper Athletic Performance

Is it acute injury or normal aches and pains related to exercise?

This is the question all athletes should ask themselves before they reach for the painkillers. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs for short, such as advil and ibuprofen, are ubiquitous in the athletic world because they offer pain relief for many of the aches and pains that are part and parcel of working out. They provide this pain relief by blocking the body’s production of prostaglandins, which are partly responsible for the body’s perception of pain. However, there are also good prostaglandins, like the ones that protect your stomach lining. Painkillers interfere with athletic performance by:

  • Limiting hypertrophy and preventing the efficient recovery of muscles and connective tissue
  • Contributing to overuse syndrome by tricking your body into ignoring pain
  • Interfering with protein synthesis
  • Inhibits nutrient absorption

So then why do we use NSAIDs at all?

NSAIDS do have their place in the athletic world. If an acute injury is sustained, using the lowest dose of NSAIDs for the lowest possible amount of time can help combat the inflammation and pain that interferes with recovery. However, once pain has reached a more manageable threshold, it is recommended that athletes transition to a more dynamic form of recovery that integrates good diet with therapeutic stretching and exercise. Chiropractic augments the body’s natural healing response by:

  • Restoring spinal alignment
  • Stopping scar tissue adhesion
  • Promoting joint mobility and improving overall range of motion
  • Improving circulation

If you are interested in taking a more proactive approach to recovery from acute injury, give our office in Westwood a call to schedule an appointment today. We are experts in the musculoskeletal form and we can help optimize recovery and prevent injury from recurring using natural modalities that feel great and work even better.

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