What are they? There are two types of pain medications, also referred to as analgesics: acetaminophen (think Tylenol, etc.), which is alternative to aspirin for pain relief; and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.). Ibuprofen treats pain as well as reduces swelling and inflammation.
“Pain is a signal of something—usually tissue injury—so overuse of analgesics can be a concern,” notes Dr. Rieder. “If you have a sprain and you use a bunch of medications to get through it, that can be bad because the sprain won’t heal adequately and you may reinjure it.”
There’s also a particular concern about the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin, ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, notes Emberley. “They can cause some fluid retention, which isn’t particularly kind on the kidneys and puts a bit more stress on the cardiovascular system,” he warns.
What to do: First, running program be damned. If you’re injured with a sprained ankle, for example, let your body rest and heal rather than mask the pain with medications and risk further damage. If it’s a milder pain you’re contending with and you’re using ibuprofen or Motrin, Emberley suggests not taking the medication for more than a week. If you need it longer, switch to an acetaminophen medication to treat the pain and avoid that fluid retention stress. Here are more ways you’re using these over-the-counter medications wrong.