There are many ways to reduce inflammation. Maybe the most famous way is RICE treatment. R stands for rest, I stands for ice, C stands for Compression and E stands for Elavation. But I will explain anti-inflammatory pills or capsules in this article.
NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
There are some types of NSAIDs : loxoprofen, dicrofenac, acetoaminofen, ibuprofen or acethylsalithyl-acid. These are able to work on pains not only which come from running but also headache, toothache, menstrual pains etc. quickly. Especially these can work on acute inflammation well. But the problem is that these drugs have side effects. Generally speaking, the stronger the effect is, the stronger also the side effect is. It can damage especially digestive system, for example bleeding in the stomach. The sign of the bleeding in the stomach is a black stool. So in case you get a black stool, you might want to consider taking off from drugs for a while.
You may still remember that Paula Radcliffe who was one of the strongest runner at that time dropped out at Athen Olympic game in 2004. Then she had an injury, but the direct reason why she dropped out was a stomach problem. It’s said that was caused by a NSAID.
It would not be a problem with short term use. But if you use it longer than 2 weeks constantly or more than 10 days a month in a long time intermittently, it can cause a side effect. Another side effects are below : the change of the blood’s components, hair loss, hives, damaging cardio vascular system, damaging the liver and tiredness.
Steroid is able to work on inflammation stronger than NSAIDs, but the side effects are also stronger than NSAIDs. If you get a side effect or not depends on which type of steroid you use, how many steroid you use and which tissues are injected. For example, muscles are less likely to get a side effect than ligaments or tendons. Generally speaking, using steroid for the first time is not a problem. More times you use steroid, the more easily you get a side effect. That means you can’t use steroid many times in your life.
But also there’s argument : Damaging tendons or ligaments after steroid injection are not caused by steroid injection, but increasing the workload too rapidly because you don’t feel a pain anymore after the injection. In my opinion, there are both cases, of course. The most important thing is that steroid injection is just one option. When you deal with injuries, you always need complex treatments, including staying positive mentally. Plus, in most of cases, an injured spot tends to be hurt again. So no matter if you use steroid or not, the spot gets injured more easily than other spots.
Steroid has also other side effects : eye deceases, depression, diabetes, damaging the immune system, gaining a weight, a rash, reducing muscles, osteoporosis, insomnia, reducing elasticity of ligaments and wearing down cartilage. Then here’s paradox : Using steroid for arthritis can lead to wearing down cartilage furtherly.
Natural anti-inflammatory capsules
Natural anti-inflammatory capsules are not famous. The character of these capsules is no side effect and taking time until they start really working, usually 2 to 4 weeks. In my opinion, natural anti-inflammatory capsules are also good for our whole body health. For example, you take a curcumin capsule because you have an injury in the right calf, then it works also for preventing infection and aging because it contains good polyphenol.
Curcumin is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory material. It’s as worth as four-fifth Ibuprofen. It’s contained in turmeric. Turmeric is known as a spice for curry and rice. Indian people are less likely to get cancers because they have curry and rice more than other country people, that means they take curcumin more than other country people.
In a study, the participants who have arthritis are separated into three groups : 1. taking only dicrofenac, 2.taking dicrofenac and curcumin, and 3. taking only curcumin. The result was surprised. Participants who took only curcumin got better than the first group participants. The effect was not only reducing a pain, but also increasing mobility. Also the blood test showed that inflammatory index CRP (c reactive protein) reduced more with curcumin than with dicrofenac.
Curcumin works not only for inflammation which you already have, but also prevents for potential inflammation which you may get from now on. Because it can reduce inflammation triggers such as TNF-alpha, NF-KappaB. To make curcumin works more efficiently, it’s a good idea to take resveratrol with curcumin. Resveratrol is a kind of polyphenol, contained a lot in red grapes and red wine and has strong antioxidants. It’s also sold as capsule form.
Also piperine makes the curcumin’s effect better because it helps absorbing curcumin. Piperine is contained in black pepper. The rate of curcumin in turmeric is about 3%. So that means that 10g turmeric has as strong anti-inflammatory effect as 2 or 3 ibuprofen pills have. The problem is that turmeric can change taste of foods easily. If you don’t get used to it, you feel uncomfortable to use turmeric. Other than how it tastes, you don’t need to think about side effects. Curcumin is also sold as capsules form.
MSM stands for Methylsulfonylmethan. It sounds a chemical material. But it exists in the natural foods. It is contained in tomato, milk and some fruits. The main component is sulfur. It’s a pity that these foods have too less MSM for reducing inflammation, anyway. In Japan hot spring which contains sulfur is very popular. Already 3,000 years ago, a Greek general Agamemnon used sulfur bath for his soldiers and they recovered well. Also Morzart and Beethoven took a sulfur bath.
About 150 years ago, a Russian doctor Alexander Saytzeff made artificial DMSO (Dimethylsulfoxid) which is the mother of MSM successfully. Since then, people have used DMSO or MSM as a pain killer. But the problem of DMSO is its Smell. It smells like fish or garlic. But MSM doesn’t have such a problem.
MSM works well for arthritis, headache, muscle pains including delayed onset muscle soreness and as antibacterial. MSM works on enzyme which promotes inflammation and reduces white cell flows to the affected part and as a result reduce inflammation. Although a lot of free radicals produce in the affected part, MSM also cleans up these free radicals well. MSM tries to root out damaged particles and aggressive particles. Also MSM works for internal bleeding.
In terms of reducing a pain effect, MSM reduces warn signals from the pain receptors to the spinal marrow and the brain. This is a very important process of healing. Although it’s true that swelling is one of the healing process, feeling a pain or swelling can cause further unnecessary pains and/or swelling. Once the brain perceives a pain, the brain orders to send more blood and immune cells to the affected part and cause a pain and/or swelling, even if it’s not necessary any more. And of course, feeling a pain and/or having swelling is bad to keep training.
MSM works well for muscle fatigue. There is a study. Participants are separated into two groups : 1. taking MSM 10 days, 2. taking pracebo capsules 10 days. 30 minutes, 2 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours after running 14 K, they are taken blood and the blood was tested. The result was that the muscle condition of participants who took MSM was clearly better than another group. It’s thought that the result was based on MSM’s cleaning up free radicals ability.
You can buy MSM (capsule, powder or gel) on the internet. If you have any kind of pains or hard workout days, it’s good to take 2 g MSM a day with separating 2 to 3 times.
‘’Eat and Run’’ written by Scott Jurek
‘’MSM Natürliche Hilfe bei Entzündungen und Schmerzen‘‘ written by Prof. Dr. Michaela Döll
‘‘Entzündungen Die heimlichen Killer‘‘ written by Prof. Dr. Michaela Döll