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How Do 'Over the Counter' Anti-Inflammatory Medications Work?
How do over the counter anti-inflammatory medications work?
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). COX is involved in the production of prostaglandins, which are chemical messengers that play a role in inflammation, pain, and fever. By blocking COX, ibuprofen reduces the production of prostaglandins, leading to a decrease in inflammation, pain, and fever.
However, while ibuprofen can be effective at reducing inflammation and pain, it can also have negative effects on tissue healing in the early phases. Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, and it helps to bring nutrients and immune cells to the site of an injury. By reducing inflammation, ibuprofen may interfere with the body's ability to heal properly.
One study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that the use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen in the early phases of bone healing can delay the healing process and lead to poorer outcomes. The researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that NSAIDs can inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which are important for bone healing.
Another study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research found that the use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can also have negative effects on the healing of soft tissues like tendons and ligaments. The researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that NSAIDs can interfere with the formation of collagen, which is a key component of these tissues.
It's worth noting that the negative effects of ibuprofen on tissue healing are generally only seen in the early phases of healing. Once the initial inflammatory response has subsided and the body has started to rebuild damaged tissues, ibuprofen is less likely to interfere with the healing process.
Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called COX, which reduces the production of prostaglandins and leads to a decrease in inflammation, pain, and fever. However, the use of ibuprofen in the early phases of tissue healing can have negative effects on the healing process, possibly by interfering with the production of prostaglandins and the formation of collagen. If you're considering using ibuprofen to manage pain or inflammation, it's important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine whether it's appropriate for your particular situation.
Simon AM, O'Connor JP. Dose and time-dependent effects of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition on fracture-healing. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2007;89(3):500-511. doi:10.2106/00004623-200703000-00009
Lee JY, Musgrave DS, Siffri PC, et al. The effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug on the healing of ligament. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2006;24(2):390-399. doi:10.1002/jor.20049
This article has been written by Adey,
BSc MCs MHCPC MCSP
Having worked in professional sport for over 10 years, which included the Rugby Premership and The English Football League, Adey has a wealth of experience with dealing with injury and rehabilitation in the sports world. His desire, commitment, people skills and knowledge are why he has a great reputation in the clubs and teams he has been involved with. Alongside working for RecoverFit, Adey also works in the military as a physiotherapist.
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