NSAIDs and Sports Injuries: What Athletes Should Know

NSAIDs Sports

and Health Benefits

Sports injuries are a common occurrence among athletes. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often prescribed to help with the pain and swelling associated with musculoskeletal injuries. While they can provide relief, there are potential risks and side effects that athletes should be aware of. This article will discuss the health benefits of NSAIDs and the potential associated risks of their use.

What are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs are medications used to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Commonly prescribed NSAIDs are ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac. NSAIDs work by blocking the release of certain chemicals that cause inflammation and pain in the body. However, they can also block the release of other substances, including a chemical that is important for the health of bones and cartilage.

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Benefits of NSAIDs for Athletes

For athletes, the benefits of using NSAIDs to treat sports injuries include:

  • Reduced pain: NSAIDs can reduce the sensation of pain and improve function for those with musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Reduced swelling: NSAIDs can quickly reduce swelling, making it easier for athletes to move and perform physical activities.
  • Improved recovery time: The relief of swelling and pain can help speed up the recovery process so that athletes can return to their sport more quickly.

Potential Risks of Using NSAIDs

While NSAIDs have many benefits, they can also cause serious side effects. It is important that athletes understand the potential risks associated with using these medications and talk to their healthcare provider before taking them. Common side effects include:

  • Stomach pain: NSAIDs can cause stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding: NSAIDs can increase the risk of stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Kidney damage: Long-term use of NSAIDs has been linked to an increased risk of kidney damage.


NSAIDs are a quick and effective way to reduce pain, swelling, and speed up the recovery process for athletes with sports injuries. However, it is important for athletes to understand the potential risks associated with using these medications. Athletes should talk to their healthcare provider before taking NSAIDs to ensure they are using them safely and effectively.