Whenever a headache strikes or we're sore from a particularly trying workout, an automatic reaction for so many of us is to pop an ibuprofen. Over-the-counter pain meds have become consumed so casually that we hardly consider the potential side effects and just focus on results—which is getting through minus the headaches or aching muscles. But relying too heavily on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin—which are particularly common among headache sufferers, athletes, and even those who work out regularly—can have harmful consequences on your gut.
Heart surgeon Steven Gundry, MD, author of The Plant Paradox and the doctor who helped Gwyneth Paltrow overhaul her eating habits, explained to Well+Good how overusing over-the-counter pain relievers damages your intestinal wall, disrupting your digestion and compromising your gut's health. Consider natural ways to relieve headaches and avoid pushing yourself too hard during workouts. If you're constantly sore after your gym sessions, you may want to rethink your fitness regimen and allow your body time to heal. Invest in a foam roller that can help soothe sore muscles and encourage reparation, alleviating the pain so you don't have to reach for the bottle sitting in your medicine cabinet.
Looking to ease off over-the-counter pain relievers? Check out the natural migraine relief thousands of people swear by.