Have you ever popped an ibuprofen or two to fend off post-workout soreness? You're hardly alone. In fact, roughly 60 percent of runners in one study said they used NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) both during training and recovery. Ultramarathoners were the most extreme users, with a full 70 percent popping anti-inflammatories before races.
But is all that medicine helping to outwit injuries and improve performance? Or could it actually be doing the opposite? To find out, let's take a dive into the physiology of inflammation.