This is a post about anti-inflammatories/pain killers and ice.  You want to know which is better, then read on:

It’s not uncommon for patients coming into my Los Angeles chiropractic clinic to ask me whether they should use anti-inflammatories or not.  First I start with the usual, “I’m not a medical doctor, so blah, blah, blah, blah…,” and then I say, “Let me explain the difference.”

An anti-inflammatory (Motrin, Advil) works by dispersing throughout your body–you ingest it, it goes into your bloodstream, and is carried to every nook and cranny of your body indiscriminately.  What this means is that some goes here, some goes there, but overall it does the trick for reducing some types or degrees of inflammation.

Ice, on the other hand, is like a blast of cold–cryotherapy it’s called–going right to the source.

Anti-inflammatories are good for:

  • fever
  • tooth aches
  • um…um…um………can’t really think of anything else

Ice is outstanding for many musculoskeletal inflammations including:

And the list could go on, but you get the point.

I cracked a tooth in 2008 and don’t know what I would have done without Motrin (couldn’t rightly ice my tooth).  And I had the flu last Christmas–once again, Tylenol was a savior.

So what’s better?  Well it depends.  But for musculoskeletal injuries and inflammations…my money’s on ice.

4 Responses to Tylenol or Ice?

  1. Jenny Arata says:

    Having just dealt with a tooth abscess that not only gave me great pain from that but also activated the trigeminal nerve on that side of my face and gave even more severe pain, I can tell you that vicodin wouldn’t help it, but Excerin Migrain could help the nerve issues. The only thing that took away the abscess issues were an eventual response to antibiotics. However, when you’re in that kind of pain, you try ibuprophen too, but there is a side effect with any product like Tylenol – especially for menstruating women – in that it can cause heavier bleeding because it thins the blood. This is also when donating blood you can’t have had any Tylenol like product within 72 hours before because they don’t want your blood thinned.

    Ice, by the way, helped the facial nerve pain some but also hot compresses helped…and a root canal fixed the problem.

  2. For tooth stuff, I’ll take the anti-inflam; but for musculoskeletal…anti-inflams are pretty bunk.

    Thank you for the great comment, Jenny.

  3. Reading this as I’m sitting with my foot elevated and iced after a bad sprain. Must admit I’ve also been popping the ibuprofen but will now cease and desist. Thanks for the timely post and follow on twitter that led to my finding you. Kismet.

  4. Sue says:

    I’ve been dealing with Fibromyalgia pain something fierce the past few months, and have debated taking anti-inflammatory meds (or any meds, for that matter). Since some of my pains ARE localized, I will try the ice trick instead. Long-time use of Tylenol concerns me. Thanks for posting this!

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