Anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy

After sustaining a musculoskeletal injury, anti-inflammatories are often prescribed. The likes of Ibuprofen, Nuromol, Ibuleve Gel, Naproxen, Voltarol will be just a few of the anti-inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

In simple terms, NSAIDS work by blocking the processes that cause the inflammation, and by blocking this process the resulting pain is decreased. NSAIDS will only work to reduce pain if it is inflammatory in nature. Anti-inflammatories are commonly prescribed by doctors and recommended by physiotherapists to help relieve inflammation-related pain in those initial stages and to help you get back to your normal activity faster.

NSAIDs and ligament injuries

There are many studies floating around on the web that show how NSAIDs reduce inflammation and pain when you get a ligament injury. Let’s say that you’ve got an ankle sprain that has inflamed a lot and you are in a lot of pain, NSAIDs act to reduce both the pain and inflammation that is experience thus improving joint amplitudes and load-bearing capacity. These short term effects can be seen up until the 7th day. Your ligaments will need time to heal and it is through that altering this healing might cause problems in the long-term, including function, higher recurrence rate or poorer joint range of motion.

NSAIDs and muscle injuries

Anti-inflammatories may be a good option to consider with cases of deep muscle contusions as they are a frequent source of muscle calcification. The evidence about NSAIDs preventing the heterotopic ossification (bone formation at an abnormal anatomical site) is based on the theory that “as a positive effect of NSAIDs in preventing heterotopic ossification after a prosthetic replacement has been seen on studies, it might work as well for muscles.”

NSAIDs are also thought to prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after eccentric exercise. But you will need to take anti-inflammatories prior to partaking in any exercise which may mask possible injury. For acute muscle tear, NSAIDs are not recommended as they may inhibit protein synthesis and inflammatory reaction.