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How Much Ibuprofen Is Too Much?

Ibuprofen in woman's hand

Is your back acting up again? Pop a few Advil. Wake up with a (literal) pain in the neck? Reach for that Motrin. It’s something we do all the time, for headaches, sore muscles, and various other aches and pains. But how much Ibuprofen is too much? We’re diving in so you know if too much Ibuprofen is harmful and reviewing a few other ways to ease your chronic pain instead.

How does Ibuprofen work?

Different pain relievers work in different ways. For example, Tylenol, or Acetaminophen, is an analgesic and an antipyretic drug. It works “by blocking your brain from releasing substances that cause the feeling of pain,” said HealthLine.

Ibuprofen, which includes Advil and Motrin, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. “Ibuprofen relieves pain by blocking cells’ production of prostaglandins, one of several compounds responsible for inflammation — which is the body’s response to injury,” as stated by Elemental.

Is too much Ibuprofen safe?

“At the appropriate dosage, ibuprofen is a safe medication for both children and adults to take,” as discussed in Medical News Today. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can be helpful for all kinds of pain and are especially useful if you need lower back pain relief and don’t want to take prescription pain medication.

What happens if you take too much?

If you pop Advil or another NSAID on a regular basis, you’re not alone. “Every day more than 30 million Americans use them to soothe headaches, sprains, arthritis symptoms, and other daily discomforts, according to the American Gastroenterological Association,” as described by  WebMD.

While you should always follow the dosage listed on the package for your age or size – or listen to the advice of your doctor – you also want to make sure you don’t take this medication for a prolonged period of time. If you start to experience side effects like stomach upset, diarrhea, or nausea/vomiting, you could be overdoing it. More serious side effects of Ibuprofen overuse can include stomach ulcers, intestinal bleeding, kidney problems, and high blood pressure. In addition, “Ibuprofen can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease,” as stated on Drugs.com and other medical websites.

What are alternatives to Ibuprofen?

If you can’t take Ibuprofen or are worried about the side effects, you have options.  Tylenol or aspirin are obvious alternatives. “For arthritis and related conditions, studies show that omega-3 fatty acids—found in fish, fish oil supplements, nuts, and seeds—may help reduce pain and inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking fish oil capsules with at least 30% omega-3s,” as explained on Time.com.

Turmeric is another option. Often used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, the root contains curcumin, which is said to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t like the flavor or aroma of turmeric, there are also supplements you can take.

Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and stretching may also be helpful for pain control, but be sure you don’t further aggravate any existing conditions. Your best bet to treat back or neck pain is to contact a spine specialist who can assess your condition and develop a treatment plan to get you back to living without having to constantly take medication or chronic back pain.

CBD is also an increasingly viable option for pain relief. “CBD can offer an alternative for people who have chronic pain and rely on medications, such as opioids, that can be habit-forming and cause more side effects,” said healthline.

As with any other type of therapy or pain management, and especially because there are so many options for CBD, between oral applications, gels, and creams, not to mention the different types of compounds, it’s important to check with your doctor to make sure CBD is right for you.

If you’re ready to put an end to your pain or if you want more information about treatment options, contact the DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. Today’s minimally invasive procedures include outpatient treatments and easier surgical treatments with small incisions and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.


Meet with Dr. Valente or Dr. Indresano in person at one of our 7 convenient DFW locations

Ready for life without back pain? Dr. Valente and Dr. Indresano are here to help. Submit your information and our staff will contact you shortly.

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