One reader asks: Is it OK to take ibuprofen several times a day for back and neck pain?
Q: Is it OK to take ibuprofen several times a day for back and neck pain?
A: Because over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like ibuprofen are available without your doctor’s input, you need to read the package insert and stick to the recommended guidelines for dosage before taking them. Use the smallest effective dose, and do not exceed the daily recommendation. Also, you shouldn’t take the medicine for longer than 10 days (unless directed by your doctor). If you have chronic pain, and you’ve taken ibuprofen for an extended period of time, talk with your doctor about further evaluation and treatment. It’s not a bad idea for short-term relief, but self-medicating with higher doses for extended periods of time can be damaging to your health.
Dr. Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S., is the founder and director of UPMC’s Weight Management Center. She is the diet and nutrition editor for NBC’s “Today Show” and is the author of The Runner’s Diet and The Real You Diet. Also, visit “Health Journal with Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom,” a health and wellness blog at iVillage.com.