Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something has gone awry and requires your attention. Without pain, you wouldn’t know to pull your hand away from a hot pan, stop walking on an injured ankle, or treat a cut. While pain is useful, it can also be debilitating. Chronic pain, pain following surgery, or lingering pain from an injury can interfere with sleep, daily activities, and your mental well-being. There are many pain medications available to ease the suffering caused by pain. However, all pain medications, from over-the-counter meds to heavily controlled substances, carry certain risks to your health.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). You may also know this medication by the brand names Advil or Motrin. According to RxList, NSAIDs work by inhibiting the effects of prostaglandins in your body. Since prostaglandins play a role in pain, inflammation, and fever, inhibiting them reduces these symptoms. However, prostaglandins also help protect the lining of your GI tract, help your blood to clot, and play a part in kidney function. This means taking too much ibuprofen can contribute to stomach ulcers, bleeding, and kidney damage.
Aleve, or naproxen sodium, is another NSAID. As such, it carries the same risk of ulcers, excessive bleeding, and kidney damage caused by other NSAIDs. NSAIDs such as naproxen sodium carry a warning that usage, especially over a long period of time, may increase an individual’s risk of heart attack or stroke. Those with other risk factors for heart attack or stroke such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoking, may be at even greater risk. Furthermore, it is critical to avoid taking NSAIDs if you are using other meds that may thin the blood.