Taking Advil/Motrin before playing?

Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
 

power_play21

Semi-Pro
Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
ask your doctor, not a tennis board full of children.
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
Do not take a pain killer before tennis! After is ok, but never before. Pain is your friend and it's never more true than while you're competing in some sporting event. Pain will warn you of an impending injury so if you dull your pain receptors, you'll do your body a world of wrong. Pain is there to warn you, not to prevent you from playing tennis.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
I don't walk onto a court without 600 of Motrin under my belt. Rickson's advice makes logical sense on the face of it, but doesn't really apply here. That is, Motrin will not make you so numb that the warning pains will be undetectable. Part of the reason for this is that Motrin, of course is not a narcotic and so isn't technically a pain medication, it is, of course an antiinflamatory. That is the property I am after. It is much more beneficial to block the production of inflamatory chemicals in your body than to create them then come by later with a chemical to block their continued production after the fact.

This may sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but trust me, there is an age where this will resonate with your common day to day experience. Many may not be there yet...
 
Brad Gilbert in his book "Winning Ugly" says he takes advil before playing, so I am sure its safe to do so. I guess the question is if I play 2 hours of tennis on a hard court, will I be less sore the next morning taking advil before or after I play?
 

Old_Crow

Rookie
Best advice is always to talk to your doctor first. But anecdotally...

I've had a few surgeries (PCL replacement & torn meniscus) on my right knee and my ortho surgeon advised me to take ibu-based anti-inflammatories before any serious physical exercise for the very reasons noted above.

When I was in rehab after the last roto-rooter job a couple years back, I was advised to use 800mg but I've gone down to 600mg for regular use, same as the poster above.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
More complicated than you surmise. Ibuprofen is very irritating to the stomach, and some remains in the stomach as much as several hours after you take it. When you exercise, the part of the body that gives up the most circulation in order to supply the muscles is the GI tract. So you are dumping an irritant in the stomach and removing much of the circulation needed to clear it. Hmmm. Likewise the kidney, where ibuprofen impairs function. I think the point here is that medications have a variety of effects, and taking one just before physical stress is probably a bad idea unless absolutely necessary. You're impairing your organ systems at a time when they need to be optimal in order to deal with the stressors.
 

WildVolley

Legend
I agree with Ollinger, this isn't something you want to get carried away with, and it isn't something you'll necessarily get a good answer to by just talking to a doctor. I find that many doctors don't stay on top of the latest research and studies. It'd probably be best to contact a doctor who is a sports specialist.

The only good thing is that I've seen studies that suggest ibuprofen doesn't weaken ligaments.

Personally, I mostly avoid pain killers and rely on stretching, ice and massage after I play if I push too hard.
 

rbq4h4

Rookie
i have herd that ibuprofen and tylenol dilate the kidney artery and can make you have to go the bathroom more when taking, this alone wouldbe not for em to take beofer.
 

LuckyR

Legend
A couple of things: first material is not cleared from the stomach by blood circulation. Second, solid organs aren't going to get much blood flow during exercise anyway due to the muscle demands anyway so antiinflamitories probably won't make much difference there either. Lastly Motrin is not going to make you go to the bathroom during a match.

Let's face it, there are folks who take the stuff around the clock for various chronic ailments, so taking 600 once or twice a week (when those guys are taking that dose 4 times a day, practically every day) is pretty mild.
 

EKhan

New User
I usually take 1 or 2 of a prescribed NSAI. If I don't I can feel wrist and elbow twinges, nothing major enough to need to stop, just annoying.
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
An anti-inflamatory before playing can reduce inflamation while you're playing.
My Dr. recommended it, and I've been doing it for years.
(I take the Ibu's and eat small snack about 1/2 hour before playing.)
 

power_play21

Semi-Pro
wow, coming from a medical student, i would not take much advice from this thread. some people just love to post about what they dont have a clue.
 

Mitcheson

New User
It is obviously not natural to take NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and generally to be discouraged.

However, I have taken it many, many times - just 2 tablets BEFORE playing as I find it helps a lot with stiffness, aches, pains, sciatica and improves mobility etc. The motive is that I can move and play better and enjoy it more. Afterwards I am sore and stiff as hell but I am prepared to tolerate that and not take any more tablets. My thinking is that a mere 2 tablets overall shouldn't do much harm.

Brad Gilbert in his Winning Ugly book recommends taking 2 before and after ... but the 'after' is to save post match aches and pains.

I have tried hard to wean myself off it altogether but sometimes still end up taking it during play as sciatica or stiffness and aching are intolerable and wrecking my enjoyment and mobility. This approach is more flexible as on days when my body is good I can get away without taking any which is ideal.

The bottom line is to know how it affects you and use your own judgment and keep it to a minimum. My stomach is like leather and I do not have any noticable adverse effects whatsoever but many of my relatives and friends can't say the same.

 
Last edited:

undecided

Semi-Pro
Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
Not safe to take that much....I take 1 before I play IF my arm is achy from prior session. Long term NSAIDS are bad for kidneys and liver. Even longer term they affect the heart valves.
 

Dansan

Rookie
As long as you do not have any medical or medication contraindications, allergies, then yes you can take a low dose NSAID like ibuprofen prior to tennis. If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, stomach ulcers - I would not be taking NSAIDS often.

But 200-400 mg is fine for most healthy adults. 600mg is a bit on the high side IMO if you are simply taking it preventively before tennis. I would not do this every day. I would try not to make it a habit either, but intermittently is fine (once in a while). Do not take NSAIDS without anything to drink along with it. It will damage your esophageal lining and stomach lining if it gets stuck on the way down, and will also cause a lot of pain while doing so. Don't take NSAIDS for months on end or in high doses regularly or it could cause kidney problems. It can also cause bleeding stomach ulcers or stomach lining perforations, or even cause cellular changes at the tissue level because of the chronic damage it does to stomach and esophageal lining if taken for long durations (months and years).

Acetaminophen is tylenol. It is toxic to your liver, don't take that one in high doses or for long durations either, and especially if you have existing liver issues avoid Tylenol. Tylenol is not anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen - which is why I prefer ibuprofen or naproxen instead.

For some reason I have some patients that like to put ibuprofen and aspirin directly on wounds because they think it will help them heal or take the pain away. Don't do this either.

But once in a while, if you want to take 1 or 2 advil prior to playing - for most healthy adults you should be fine.

You can take NSAIDS before or after playing tennis. If you are having a lot of bad pain/soreness you can take it once every 8 hours. If you take aleve instead, take it on a 12 hour interval. But again, do not take for long durations of more than 1-1.5 weeks unless you consult a doctor. If I take it at all, I will usually do it 30-45 min before playing. Reason being that it reduces inflammation during play. Just my 2cents , and as always consult your doc !
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
More complicated than you surmise. Ibuprofen is very irritating to the stomach, and some remains in the stomach as much as several hours after you take it. When you exercise, the part of the body that gives up the most circulation in order to supply the muscles is the GI tract. So you are dumping an irritant in the stomach and removing much of the circulation needed to clear it. Hmmm. Likewise the kidney, where ibuprofen impairs function. I think the point here is that medications have a variety of effects, and taking one just before physical stress is probably a bad idea unless absolutely necessary. You're impairing your organ systems at a time when they need to be optimal in order to deal with the stressors.
LOL
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
For me it just depends on how I am feeling. Few aches and pains I work through with strtching and such. I trained a bit harder this weekend and have a match tonight so I took Naproxin this morning and might drop 200mg of ibuprofen a few hours before my match to get the little aches cleared. As a rule I don't take it often, but it helps.
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
I have an odd way of looking at it. If I take Naproxen before playing In my mind I am taking it in the event that I may have pain after playing not knowing if I will or not. Therefore, I try to avoid taking it before I play and instead take it after if I need it. Of course being an old fart there are times I regret that decision!!!!

If I am achy or played the prior day I will take it before playing (like right about now) as I played yesterday and am playing in about an hour and I hobbled around all day at work.
 

HouTex

Rookie
As long as you do not have any medical or medication contraindications, allergies, then yes you can take a low dose NSAID like ibuprofen prior to tennis. If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, stomach ulcers - I would not be taking NSAIDS often.

But 200-400 mg is fine for most healthy adults. 600mg is a bit on the high side IMO if you are simply taking it preventively before tennis. I would not do this every day. I would try not to make it a habit either, but intermittently is fine (once in a while). Do not take NSAIDS without anything to drink along with it. It will damage your esophageal lining and stomach lining if it gets stuck on the way down, and will also cause a lot of pain while doing so. Don't take NSAIDS for months on end or in high doses regularly or it could cause kidney problems. It can also cause bleeding stomach ulcers or stomach lining perforations, or even cause cellular changes at the tissue level because of the chronic damage it does to stomach and esophageal lining if taken for long durations (months and years).

Acetaminophen is tylenol. It is toxic to your liver, don't take that one in high doses or for long durations either, and especially if you have existing liver issues avoid Tylenol. Tylenol is not anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen - which is why I prefer ibuprofen or naproxen instead.

For some reason I have some patients that like to put ibuprofen and aspirin directly on wounds because they think it will help them heal or take the pain away. Don't do this either.

But once in a while, if you want to take 1 or 2 advil prior to playing - for most healthy adults you should be fine.

You can take NSAIDS before or after playing tennis. If you are having a lot of bad pain/soreness you can take it once every 8 hours. If you take aleve instead, take it on a 12 hour interval. But again, do not take for long durations of more than 1-1.5 weeks unless you consult a doctor. If I take it at all, I will usually do it 30-45 min before playing. Reason being that it reduces inflammation during play. Just my 2cents , and as always consult your doc !
During my 20+ month battle with tennis elbow I was taking two ibuprofen tablets each morning for the pain. At my annual physical my blood work showed decreased kidney function. I stopped taking the ibuprofen and my kidney function returned to normal.
 

Dim Sim

Rookie
Recent press (within the last 12-18 months) is that nsaids aren’t great for your heart over the long term. Worth looking into if you are thinking of taking it habitually.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I only do it before important matches. Caffeine and ibuprofen are my pre match PEDs.
But normally I try to warm up a lot instead of using Advil as a crutch for aches and pains.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I only do it before important matches. Caffeine and ibuprofen are my pre match PEDs.
But normally I try to warm up a lot instead of using Advil as a crutch for aches and pains.
No creatine? From what I've heard, caffeine and creatine are the most effective legal PEDs used by tennis players and other athletes. Possibly even more effective than the meldonium that Sharapova had been using.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah lower risk of Alzheimer's as you won't live long enough to get it :)
Alzheimer's is a horrible disease to endure. Much worse than some of the others you mentioned. Would not wish it on anyone. It was very painful seeing my mother go thru this (for nearly 3 decades) before she passed. My father also developed serious dementia in the last decade of his life (he passed at 91 yo). At 67, I've already experienced some early signs of dementia.
 

undecided

Semi-Pro
Alzheimer's is a horrible disease to endure. Much worse than some of the others you mentioned. Would not wish it on anyone. It was very painful seeing my mother go thru this (for nearly 3 decades) before she passed. My father also developed serious dementia in the last decade of his life (he passed at 91 yo). At 67, I've already experienced some early signs of dementia.
I agree that it is terrible, my mother in law is going through it. But, had she poisoned her kidneys with NSAIDs like my mother did she would not have lived long enough to get dementia.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
When you get older you don't really have that much of a choice. Especially playing on hard courts, you are going to feel pain. If I play, especially in the morning, and don't take 200-400Mg Ibu, I will feel like Frankenstein on the court.

If I play at night and don't take Ibu, I will wake up in the morning horribly stiff.

I only take Ibu for tennis, nothing else. 2, max 3 times per week, never more than 400Mgs. If doubles I take 200Mg, singles 400.

If I have a headache, I take acetominophen, not Ibu. When I used to get migraines, it was leftover hydrocodone. Luckily those are very rare now.

There's no question Ibuprofen isn't good for your stomach. The GI guy I went to tells his patients they should be taking prilosec if they are using IBU regularly, and to avoid alcohol in conjunction with it as it's a double whammy to your GI tract.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
When you get older you don't really have that much of a choice. Especially playing on hard courts, you are going to feel pain. If I play, especially in the morning, and don't take 200-400Mg Ibu, I will feel like Frankenstein on the court.

If I play at night and don't take Ibu, I will wake up in the morning horribly stiff.

I only take Ibu for tennis, nothing else. 2, max 3 times per week, never more than 400Mgs. If doubles I take 200Mg, singles 400.

If I have a headache, I take acetominophen, not Ibu. When I used to get migraines, it was leftover hydrocodone. Luckily those are very rare now.

There's no question Ibuprofen isn't good for your stomach. The GI guy I went to tells his patients they should be taking prilosec if they are using IBU regularly, and to avoid alcohol in conjunction with it as it's a double whammy to your GI tract.
Pretty much in pain every day since my mid 50s. But would only occasionally take IB before playing or teaching. Usually 200 mg. To deal with daily aches and pains, I would often use heat, ice or BioFreeze (or Blue-Emu). A hot shower or soak would often help. Would try to get in 10-15 minutes of cardio before heading out to the courts. Helped minimize the pain and stiffness and allowed me to warm up quicker on the court.
 

andreh

Professional
Pretty much in pain every day since my mid 50s. But would only occasionally take IB before playing or teaching. Usually 200 mg. To deal with daily aches and pains, I would often use heat, ice or BioFreeze (or Blue-Emu). A hot shower or soak would often help. Would try to get in 10-15 minutes of cardio before heading out to the courts. Helped minimize the pain and stiffness and allowed me to warm up quicker on the court.
I'm 43. I have to take Ibu to get out of bed.

But seriously, of course it's always better to not take pills than to take pills, but let's not exaggerate the dangers of NSAIDs either. There's clearly a stigma connected to taking pain pills, especially among men. Pain is something you're supposed to just endure and suffer through for many, otherwise your're considered 'weak'. The result is a lot of people suffering needlessly. People also aren't truthful about how much pills they eat because of this stigma (I never touch it the stuff! etc.) Sales figures for OTC NSAIDs tell a different story. Clearly as a population we pop these things like it's candy. And that's ok.

Low dosage of Ibuprofen (up to 1200mg/day) is considered safe to take and as far as I know there is no change in this recommendation from the medical pros. Severe consequences like ulcers, cardiac events, and strokes do happen, but they are extremely rare. So pop away. Don't feel guilty. Don't fret.
 

Pitti

Rookie
Why would anyone want to needlessly take a painkiller before playing? I don't think it's a wise idea generally speaking (there are exceptions). When a part of your body is in pain, it's telling you that you should stop the activity or reduce it. Taking a painkiller beforehand can make you lose "information" from your body and lead to injury. I think it's better to avoid painkillers as much as possible.

That being said, I'm around 30 and although I don't take painkillers because joints are still in good shape... I end up taking them more usually than I'd like because of migraines. But I try to use as little as possible both in dosage and number of pills. Usually something around 650mg of paracetamol tames it a bit. If it's stronger I must aim for a gram, and not always with good result.

And, as a curiosity, I've observed that for tennis, there's a great difference between my normal days, my migraine days and the immediate days before a migraine attack:

On normal days... I'm ok. I run, I concentrate like any regular guy.

On the migraine ones I feel absolutely weak and get tired very easily. The racquet weighs a ton and I can't seem to find any kind of precision or power regulation: either I hit really short balls or I hit really long balls.

But the pre-migraine days are really funny. Some days I start seeing "auras" and I can't properly watch the ball for a while. Some days I feel weak, like in a fever. Both things put me in a pretty defensive stance. But some other days I feel super energized, like after having had 5 energy drinks. These latter days I have to hold myself back, since I tend to attack in a "suicidal" way and try to finish points at the net and in two or three strokes at most. The problem is that my energy fades at a random moment and I feel drained. Whenever any of these things happen I know I must take a painkiller. But I don't always do and pay the consequences later... :rolleyes:
 

andreh

Professional
Taking a painkiller beforehand can make you lose "information" from your body and lead to injury
This something you hear a lot from athletes, but ibuprofen or other nsaids or paracetamol /acetaminophen isn't even close to be strong enough to actually mask an injury. Maybe if you take morphine before play but then you'll have other, more pressing problems
 

Pitti

Rookie
This something you hear a lot from athletes, but ibuprofen or other nsaids or paracetamol /acetaminophen isn't even close to be strong enough to actually mask an injury.
True. They're not strong enough to mask a serious injury. But my opinion is that their prolonged use carries more risk than we usually tend to think. For instance, paracetamol is the "safest" among ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen. It doesn't hurt your stomach, and you can theoretically take up to 4 daily grams. But its continuous use slowly damages the liver, and the line between a normal dose and an overdose is really thin (although fortunately it's high enough not to represent a risk with a sensible use). Also, taking any medicine with alcohol is stupid and dangerous. But if you take painkillers on a daily bases it's pretty easy to forget about them.

As I said, I don't like to take any medicine except for when it's really necessary. NSAIDs and paracetamol are safe to use, but I think it's not advisable to use them daily if one can avoid them by bearing a slight amount of pain. I'm also telling you that I usually end up taking some paracetamol or aspirin every week due to my headaches. In this case, it's been letting me avoid stronger medication.

Maybe if you take morphine before play but then you'll have other, more pressing problems
But you'd arrive to the match in a relaxed mindset!
 

undecided

Semi-Pro
This something you hear a lot from athletes, but ibuprofen or other nsaids or paracetamol /acetaminophen isn't even close to be strong enough to actually mask an injury. Maybe if you take morphine before play but then you'll have other, more pressing problems
I had a tooth removed a few years back and it got infected. The dentist provided vicodin did nothing. Most terrible pain I've felt since an ankle fracture I had as a teen. I called the doc and he said load up in IB, you can take up to 1000mg at a time. So, I did. It worked better then vicodin. But a few days later I had blood in my stool. So, yeah IB is strong enough in high doses but it will wreck you inside.
 

andreh

Professional
I had a tooth removed a few years back and it got infected. The dentist provided vicodin did nothing. Most terrible pain I've felt since an ankle fracture I had as a teen. I called the doc and he said load up in IB, you can take up to 1000mg at a time. So, I did. It worked better then vicodin. But a few days later I had blood in my stool. So, yeah IB is strong enough in high doses but it will wreck you inside.
1000mg of Ibuprofen per dose?! I've never heard/seen that much from any source. The normal dose prescribed in Europe is 200-400 every 4 to 6 hours with 1200mg/day as the max OTC dosage and 2400mg/day with a prescription. Occansionally 600mg/dose is prescribed. No wonder you had problems. NSAIDs also prolong bleeding so if you were bleeding after removing your tooth Ibuprofen may have been a questionable choice by your dentist.
 

undecided

Semi-Pro
1000mg of Ibuprofen per dose?! I've never heard/seen that much from any source. The normal dose prescribed in Europe is 200-400 every 4 to 6 hours with 1200mg/day as the max OTC dosage and 2400mg/day with a prescription. Occansionally 600mg/dose is prescribed. No wonder you had problems. NSAIDs also prolong bleeding so if you were bleeding after removing your tooth Ibuprofen may have been a questionable choice by your dentist.
Prescription Advil (Ibuprofen) is indeed 1000mg per dose. The 200-400 is the over the counter dose. The vicodin was 800mg which is a combo of acetaminophen and some opioid. The 1000mg IB worked to completely remove the pain where the vidodin failed.
 

zipplock

Rookie
Prescription Advil (Ibuprofen) is indeed 1000mg per dose. The 200-400 is the over the counter dose. The vicodin was 800mg which is a combo of acetaminophen and some opioid. The 1000mg IB worked to completely remove the pain where the vidodin failed.
Vicodin (hydrocodone) is an opioid that works at the level of mu receptors. Ibuprofen is an NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drug) that reduces inflammation. If the pain is due to inflammation, the ibuprofen would be more effective. Vicodin (contains acetaminophen, an anti pyretic) does not address inflammation. People mistake the euphoria that opiods provide for healing, which they do not do.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Just wondering if any middle age players take ibuprofen before playing?
I generally only take it after playing, but not every time. If I play 4/wk would it be more beneficial to take 2 pills before or after, and is this weekly amount safe?
My stomach goes insane
I just rest or gut it out
 

PD1978

New User
Well I’m a MD.
I would never rec to a patient to take it before a match because we need to figure out why the soreness is occurring. Advil is a band aid fix, not a long term solution.

I’m going to end it there,as with many of my colleagues, giving medical advice over the internet is a bad idea generally.
 

undecided

Semi-Pro
Well I’m a MD.
I would never rec to a patient to take it before a match because we need to figure out why the soreness is occurring. Advil is a band aid fix, not a long term solution.

I’m going to end it there,as with many of my colleagues, giving medical advice over the internet is a bad idea generally.
Well, what was interesting to me is that If I had taken the advil prior to playing, not only my TE/GE did not flare up during play but it also did not hurt afterwards even after the advil's effects had stopped. If I played without having taken the advil prior to starting, at the 1.5 hour mark I would start feeling TE/GE pain. I would take advil after the match and it would take longer to eliminate the pain and also the pain elimination was more temporary. As the Advil wore off, the pain would return. So, playing while on Advil does have some beneficial effects to long term pain management. It may have some protective activity due to lowered inflammation while playing.
 

PD1978

New User
Well, what was interesting to me is that If I had taken the advil prior to playing, not only my TE/GE did not flare up during play but it also did not hurt afterwards even after the advil's effects had stopped. If I played without having taken the advil prior to starting, at the 1.5 hour mark I would start feeling TE/GE pain. I would take advil after the match and it would take longer to eliminate the pain and also the pain elimination was more temporary. As the Advil wore off, the pain would return. So, playing while on Advil does have some beneficial effects to long term pain management. It may have some protective activity due to lowered inflammation while playing.

You have TE, that’s the issue.
You are masking a problem that will only progress and get worse on or off Advil.

Correct your form, get some physio, rest and Advil.

Your choice.....
 

Tennease

Hall of Fame
If you want to avoid pain playing tennis, do a proper warm up and stretching before playing. Elastic bands, medicine balls throwing, rope skipping, aerobics, etc. Also, avoid drinking any caffeine. Eat good food and drink good drinks that don't hamper your blood flow.

Also, don't use too light racquets. String low if you use full poly. Full gut is best for avoiding arm pains. Play with fluid motion and not jerky motion.
 

andreh

Professional
I think the OP was more about taking NSAIDS for general stiffness and minor aches and pains before playing rather than managing the pain from an actual confirmed injury, that is to say to be able to keep playing despite being injured.

The former, I do all the time. The latter..., well, it goes without saying that it's not a good idea.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
If you want to avoid pain playing tennis, do a proper warm up and stretching before playing. Elastic bands, medicine balls throwing, rope skipping, aerobics, etc. Also, avoid drinking any caffeine. Eat good food and drink good drinks that don't hamper your blood flow.

Also, don't use too light racquets. String low if you use full poly. Full gut is best for avoiding arm pains. Play with fluid motion and not jerky motion.
Great advice right here. I especially second the part about stringing low if you use all poly. I went from 50s to 40 in my all poly setup and its awesome plus my pain has gone away.
 
Top