So often I’m asked about the use and implications for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Sooner or later, involvement with athletics will lead to aches and pains. There is a wonderful article written in plain English for all of us on geezerjock.com. I won’t restate it here.
I do want to add an important point not made in the article for endurance athletes. Most if not all NSAIDs also have an antipyretic affect. They reduce fevers. Since they have an effect on our temperature regulatory system it is not wise to use them in endurance activities (i.e. marathons) or under heated conditions. “Heat” is a relative term. There isn’t a point at which we can say it is “hot” so don’t take an NSAID. The best and safest practice is not to take them under any conditions that are even “warm” to YOU. Your body heat will only increase as you exercise.
NSAIDs are also contraindicated in a number of common conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, psoriasis, infammatory bowel disease and atherosclerosis. And get this, long term use can even have a damaging effect on your cartilage. That’s probably not the best thing for runners, eh?
There are also many contraindications to NSAID use in combination with other medications, prescription and otherwise. These are not as innocent as they seem even though they are over-the-counter drugs.
And for those who seem to think popping some ibuprofen during the marathon is somehow going to magically get them through the race… think again. This is just plain stupid. Get in shape and stop looking for a quick fix to “get you through” a race. If that is what you think is the difference between “making it” (the finish or a PR) or not then you need to rethink your entire training program because something is dreadfully wrong.