Whether you’re coming back from Nationals or getting ready for the Club season, chances are you’ve got some NSAIDs–“Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”–in your disc bag, or perhaps in your stomach as we speak!
And while it makes sense to ask your MD about appropriate use of NSAIDs, and work with well-trained physiotherapists (physical therapists) and other movement coaches, it’s also worth learning more about the dangers and benefits of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Some fraction of Ultimate players rely on Ibuprofen (“Ibu”) to get themselves running for practice, but it’s worth at least pondering the long-term impacts of having to take 200+ mg of Ibu before playing any game. Last year, the NYTimes PhysEd section had an article on Ibu, does it Help or Hurt During Exercise?
It seems there’s still fire in this debate but perhaps it makes sense to balance between eating Ibu like candy (“Vitamin I”) and avoiding it completely. As Dr. Warden reminds us in the article,
“When you have inflammation and pain from an acute injury… NSAIDs are very effective.” But to take them “before every workout or match is a mistake.”
But what of taking them quasi-regularly after tournament games (end of day)? And what do you do if, like some Ultimate players and many runners, you’re “injured” in some fashion more often than you’d care to admit?
There don’t seem to be easy answers here, but I think it’s worth pulling back a bit and remembering that inflammation isn’t just caused by micro/macrotrauma in the sports injury/overuse sense, but that food choices modulate or increase inflammation. So even if you aren’t feeling inflamed now, it’s still worth thinking about how to reduce your systemic level of inflammation, so to speak.
In a recent video segment, Dr. John Berardi talks a bit about Body Fuel: Reduce Pain and Injury and I recommend you watch the short clip and take to heart whatever advice speaks to you. I’ll echo Dan John and Dr. Berardi and a whole slew of health researchers that expound on the benefits of fish oil, and recommend taking fish oil supplements at every meal. (That’s actually more progressive [6-10g per day] than some, but I think I’d rather have my athletes taking 1-2 fish oil tablets at every meal than 200mg Ibu before every practice, but that’s just me…).
Dr. Berardi also talks about the anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric and a few other compounds. Personally I’ve been trying out Zyflamend, a supplement which contains Turmeric, Basil, Green Tea compounds, and so on, which has worked well for me but haven’t been able to dig up strong yay / nay / hurray opinions on this product yet.
In some, if you’re on Vitamin I, I hope you take a little look at your diet first, and secondarily, strongly consider you include fish oil supplementation in your training program. Heart and Mind health? How’s that for an Ultimate player Training win/win.