Pain works in a cycle. If you are in pain, you move awkwardly and tense up your muscles. This ends up using your muscles them in a way they aren’t used to being used, and can increase inflammation and irritation to the surrounding muscles and nerves.
Pain medication, whether it’s over-the-counter ibuprofen or a prescription-only medication, can help by cutting in to the pain cycle. You feel less pain, so you relax your muscles, and the vicious cycle becomes slightly less vicious.
This is why, if you are going to take pain medication, I recommend a dose at the beginning of the day, before you’ve done anything to aggravate yourself. Although I don’t currently take pain medication regularly, I do go through occasional flare-ups where I might need a little extra help. When that happens, I’ve found that on the days when I take a dose of pain medication in the morning, I often end up taking fewer doses over the course of the day in total.
To be clear, this tip is only for when you are in severe pain. I’m not saying you should just pop a couple of ibuprofen every morning in the off-chance it might help. Every medication has its side effects, and you shouldn’t take more than needed.
I’m talking about a situation where you’re in total agony and you know you’re going to end up needing to take medication anyway. In that case, you may find that a preemptive dose in the morning allows you to take fewer pills in total over the course of the day.
In case you haven’t seen them yet, check out my other suggestions for how to structure your mornings: