Pain Relievers for Athletes

Pain Relievers for Athletes.

There has been much written on the negative effectives of over-the-counter pain relievers on endurance athletes. Ibuprofen affects the kidneys; Naproxen Sodium affects the liver, etc. However, it seems that nature has provided a safer alternative all along.

Athletes have been known to pop Ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory painkillers before a workout or race as a preemptive strike against muscle soreness as well as during longer workouts and races. This practice has been documented to cause problems particularly to the intestines.

Kim van Wijck of Maastrict University Medical Centre and her co-authors write “We conclude that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs consumption by athletes is not harmless and should be discouraged.” This was published in the December 2012 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Here’s the good news:

Tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation than over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen. Oregon Hood to Coast runners who consumed Montmorency cherry juice for a week prior to the race and on race day reported significantly less pain than runners who received a placebo. This is taken from an article published in May 2010 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Montmorency – or sour pie cherries – has higher anti-inflammatory content compared to other foods including pomegranates and blueberries. The anti-inflammatory substance found in the peel of the fruit contains the same enzyme as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen.

Here at, we’re no medical experts but natural seems the better way to go! Of course, read the full articles to come to your own conclusions.