Aches and pain are a way of life. There was a point in time in my life when popping a tablet to address the problem was an integral part of my life. Often, I would not be averse to taking medicine in anticipation of the fact that I might contract aches and pains and prevention was better than cure, or at least, so I thought.

Taking medication, Ibuprofen, for example, can have unintended consequences. An Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the production of enzymes in your body. These enzymes called cyclooxygenase or COX is responsible for the production of other substances like prostaglandins, prostacyclins, etc. It is these substances that are responsible for inflammation and the resultant pain. When you take the medication, the production of these elements is impaired resulting in a reduction of the swelling or pain. At least for the moment, you feel better.

If you make this into a habit or addiction, the long-term outcomes can be horrendous. Prostaglandins help the stomach and intestines from the acids produced within. When suppressed, it can result in ulcers and even internal bleeding. Continuous use can result in elevated blood pressure. Also, the blood flow to your kidneys can become constricted resulting in renal failure. If god forbid, your kidneys malfunction, it causes a host of problems, not the least of which is the imbalance of your electrolytes as the kidney is unable to eliminate potassium and sodium from your body.

It is not uncommon to combine alcohol and Ibuprofen. Drinking beer after your first run combined with a painkiller to reduce the pain and agony. Ah, the joys of living the high life! The race probably caused dehydration, and the ibuprofen will only make it worse. Medication, for the most part, should be taken for severe ailments under medical supervision. Try not to pop pills like they are toffee.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.