|What's Your Over-the-Counter IQ?|
Anti-inflammatory medicines, also called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), include ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. NSAIDs work to reduce inflammation of an area that, in turn, causes pain. They are the most recommended type of over-the-counter medications for sports injuries because the pain of most sports injuries is caused by inflammation.
The most common non-NSAID pain reliever is acetaminophen (Tylenol). Medications like acetaminophen work differently from NSAIDs because they change the way the body perceives pain, but do not treat the inflammation that may be causing the pain.
NSAID medications are most commonly recommended by Sports Medicine physicians because of their anti-inflammatory properties. However, NSAID medications and acetaminophen can be taken together to relieve stubborn pain caused by sports injuries. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions on the package, and remember to take NSAIDs with food, as they can cause stomach irritation for some people.
To find a Sports Medicine physician or surgeon, visit www.stfrancishealth.org/sports.