With a recent case of whiplash as a result of being on the receiving end of a car accident, I'm now wondering whether taking ibuprofen 4-7 times a week will help me heal quicker/more completely?

After the incident I took ibuprofen every day for about a week because the pain was intense, and since then less regularly when I've felt stiffness or pain. Now I'm quite comfortable most of the time but still find that I have limited range of motion, pain when I need to blow my nose a lot (thanks to hayfever).

My intuition tells me taking the painkillers speed up healing and ensure a fuller recovery. On the other hand I wonder if decreasing pain might cause further damage because the decreased pain will make me less careful in my activities so that I might re-injure it. I don't want to be on painkillers for weeks if there is little benefit to it.

My question is this:

Do non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do anything for actual tissue healing? I understand that they decrease pain, but are there any studies that show that they do anything more than decrease pain?

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    This is an important question, which I believe is now on topic for the site. If you feel my edit has changed your question substantively, please feel free to roll-back or re-edit to suit your needs better. Thanks! Jun 28, 2015 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


It has been long known that use of NSAID have an effect for bone healing after fractures (1). Therefore the use of NSAIDs is recommended only for certain period after fracture and long-term use should be avoided.

NSAIDs are either non-selective COX1 and COX2 inhibitors (ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen) or modern selective COX2 inhibitors (selecoxib, parecoxib). There is some evidence that non-selective COX1&2 inhibitors such as ibuprofen have a positive effect for the healing of tendons (2)(3). In general the use of NSAIDs are useful in the treatment of ligament injuries but whether the advantage of NSAIDs is due to the matter that reduction in pain results to early mobilization and thus earlier recovery is still controversial (4).

However, the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors is shown to have adverse effect on the tissue healing (4)(5).

As so, the use of ibuprofen does not look like disadvantageous with regard to tissue healing unless where are dealing with bone fracture.

Of course, whether there is really an objective soft tissue damage present after a whiplash is a whole another matter....

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