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you should re-think taking pain relievers


When most people are in pain, they take an over-the-counter, non-prescription drug, such as Advil, Ibuprofen, or Tylenol. What’s not widely known is that these pain relievers increase the chances of a heart attack, stroke (1), liver damage (2), and interfere with muscle growth (3).

It’s not uncommon for people to take pain medication after being sore from a hard workout, so I was shocked to learn that pain relievers can hinder muscle gains. “Muscle injury is an important stimulator of muscle hypertrophy and increased strength. Suppressing muscle inflammation with over-the-counter drugs such as non-steroidal inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen or Motrin, aspirin, or Ascriptin, and naproxen or Aleve) after training can interfere with muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy” (4).

I’m not aware of any drug, that doesn’t have side effects. The bottom line is to only take drugs, when you absolutely have to.

3. Fahey, EdD, Thomas. Strength and Conditioning. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pg. 95
4. AM J Physiol Cell Physiol 287: C475-483, 2004.

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