What Are the Pros and Cons of Ibuprofen for Swelling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2014
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Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is often used to help provide relief from pain and general body aches, while also helping to reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints. Available in both over the counter and prescription strengths, the drug offers people living with arthritis as well as those suffering with temporary swelling in the joints due to some type of injury or other activity a chance to ease the inflammation and enjoy a greater range of motion without the pain. While very helpful in reducing inflammation, the use of ibuprofen for swelling does carry the potential for some drawbacks as well as benefits.

One of the benefits of using ibuprofen for treating swelling is that the medication tends to have an effect in a relatively short period of time. This can be very important when the swelling and accompanying pain is somewhat severe. As the inflammation begins to subside, the patient normally also finds that movement is easier to manage without experiencing sharp pain, making it easier to manage everyday tasks.

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The low cost of the drug in both its over the counter and prescription strengths is another benefit to using ibuprofen for swelling. For people who have little to no health insurance coverage or are living on tight budgets, this medication can be a viable alternative to more costly courses of treatment. When taken as recommended by a physician, the patient can enjoy relief from the swelling and stiffness without a lot of worries about how to pay for the medicine and still manage to take care of other financial obligations.

While using ibuprofen for swelling works very well for many people, there are potential hazards related to prolonged use of the drug. Like other NSAID medications, ibuprofen may increase the chances of ulcers and bleeding as well as damaging the intestines. Negative interactions with a number of other prescription medications, including those used for health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes. There is also the possibility of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

Before taking ibuprofen for swelling, it is important to consult a physician. By providing the medical professional with information regarding past medical history as well as currently diagnosed health issues and any over the counter or prescription medications used on a regular basis, it will be easier to determine if using ibuprofen in measured doses is the right option. Being aware of possible side effects and reporting them should they develop will also help to reduce the risk of a severe action that could be life-threatening.

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ZipLine
Post 3

I think topical ibuprofen is good for swelling. It worked for my back last week and I didn't have an upset stomach like I usually do with oral ibuprofen.

burcinc
Post 2

@turquoise-- Actually, ibuprofen is not the best pain reliever for inflammation and pain that lasts for more than a day. Ibuprofen takes effect quickly but it's half-life is only two hours! That means that after two hours, only half of the drug will be remaining in your system. And after about four to five hours, it will be completely gone. So you have to take ibuprofen very frequently for inflammation and pain relief.

Something like naproxen is better for inflammation. Naproxen's half life is about fourteen hours. So you don't have to take it frequently, once a day will usually be enough.

When I developed tendonitis, I was also taking ibuprofen. When I told my doctor, she said to switch to naproxen and explained all this to me.

turquoise
Post 1

I injured myself last week while dancing. The back of my knee is swollen and painful. I thought that it would take at least a week to get better but I already feel much better after three days. All I did was apply ice all the time and take ibuprofen. I think ibuprofen is great, I don't have any pain.

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