Should You Take a Painkiller for Gym-related Pain?

Single aspirin pill with copy space
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Your doozy of a workout has left you sidelined with an injury. Should you pop a pill? Some sports doctors warn that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) suppress a key part of healing—the body’s inflammatory response—ultimately prolonging injuries and discomfort. But research from Georgia State University suggests that ibuprofen and aspirin are just fine.

“We found that the inflammatory suppression does not occur to an extent that adversely affects some strength or soreness during recovery,” says researcher Kimberly Morelli, clinical associate professor of physical therapy.

Bottom line: If you strain your quads doing squats, pop an NSAID (400 to 800 milligrams) every six hours to manage pain. If the ache lasts longer than a few days, call your physician.

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