Have you ever experienced drowsiness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, or heartburn? If you are an ultra runner, you’re likely to answer yes, because many of these are common symptoms experienced during ultra events. They’re also the most common side effects of Advil and Motrin, known generically as ibuprofen.
Ironically many endurance athletes turn to ibuprofen during long training runs and races. Which begs the question: why would someone take a medication that is known to have the very same side effects as the symptoms you are trying to avoid?
Worse yet, Ibuprofen is known to play havoc on your kidneys. It does this by messing with the production of a certain hormone called prostaglandin. Of all hormones, prostaglandin should qualify as a runner’s best friend, because it keeps the blood flowing through the kidneys. And when the blood flows through the kidneys, endurance athletes are more likely to avoid hyponatremia.
An all-natural alternative
A few years ago a wise massage therapist told me about a product called Traumeel. She described it as a natural, homeopathic, anti-inflammatory product without the side effects of ibuprofen. At the time all I knew about homeopathy was that it was a form of alternative medicine. Despite conjuring up images of tarot cards and witch doctors, I was intrigued.
I googled "Traumeel" and what I found was encouraging. The first thing I saw was a definition by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), an affiliate of the National Institute of Health (NIH). NCI described Traumeel as.…"diluted extracts isolated from plants and minerals, including belladonna, arnica, St. Johns wort, and Echinacea. …Traumeel S exhibits anti-inflammatory activity; the mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated”. Not fully elucidated? My interpretation of this is that the stuff works, but they don’t really know how it works. I needed to know more.
Then I found something that really got my attention. It was a clinical trial published by the US National Library of Medicine and other science organizations. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trial, researchers assessed the effectiveness of Traumeel S in the management of chemotherapy induced stomatitis in children undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Stomatitis causes hideously painful sores that form in the mouth and are a side affect of certain chemotherapy treatments. The study concluded that Traumeel may reduce significantly the severity and duration of this chemotherapy-induced stomatitis. Now that, I thought, was impressive.
In a nutshell, Traumeel is said to slow down the body’s inflammatory process. Data published by the manufacturer reports that “in studies of whole blood cultures, certain plant ingredients of Traumeel S have been found to elevate levels of TGF-ß, an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Unlike ibuprofen, Traumeel has no known side effects. Also unlike ibuprofen, which is taken orally and can cause abdominal pain and nausea, Traumeel tablets are taken sublingually (under the tongue) and enter the blood stream directly by avoiding the GI track altogether. Hmmm…one less thing to upset my stomach during an ultra?
Traumeel comes in various forms including tablets and liquid for internal use. It can also be applied directly on the skin over an injured muscle or joint using the gel and cream applications. I used the gel religiously earlier this year after suffering from a knee injury sustained while snow skiing. It helped speed recovery and reduced the chronic swelling associated with the injury. I’ve also used Traumeel tablets and found them to be an effective anti-inflammatory during bouts of heavy training when I’m really pushing my miles.
So whether you are recovering from overuse injury, combating chronic pain and inflammation due to heavy training, Traumeel can be an effective, all natural remedy. It can be found at local health food stores or at online health stores such as eVitamins.
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Traumeel has a regenerative action on the damaged tissues. This is due to the vast range of separate homeopathic components which are of homeopathic, vegetable and mineral origin and that make up this unique formula.
I use the stuff all the time and avoid Ibuprofen as much as possible. I've never tried Traumeel in pill form though, just the cream stuff...
hi! Thanks for checking out my blog! My chiropractor had recommended the Traumeel, I didn't write it down, forgot what it was by the time I got to the drug store, so I'm so happy that you found my blog to lead me to your post. I assume it's sold here in Canada since he recommended it, I'll just have to go look for it now! Thanks!
My chiro recommended trameel cream it for some IT issues i had this summer. It definately helped.
@ melanie, in Calgary, it can be found at Community Health on 10th ave sw...
Buying medicines is easier and convenient now! Thanks to Internet pharmacies. I have been shopping for my medicines at eshoprx.com and I must share this with you all that this is the cheapest pharmacy. Their quality is at par and delvery fast.
I used Traumeel Creme on my sore quads the morning after the Bishop High Sierra 100K this past weekend, and I felt like it took the edge off the pain. Right after I rubbed it on my quads and left calf I felt like walking was not as painful.
I used the creme on my quads late in the race the day before. I did not rub it in but mainly just quickly spread it over my quads since, "I was in a race and in a hurry!".
I did not notice any real difference after that, regarding a reduction in the level of pain I was feeling, but given the fact that it was the last fifth of the 100K and I was probably pretty inured to noticing much of anything, and that I did notice its effectiveness the next morning when I rubbed it in well, it seems to me there is definitely a benefit to using it, and I thank you for the tip.
I tried 2-3 of the Traumeel tablets sublingually during two 30+ mile training runs on weekends before the 100K, and 3 during the 100K itself.
I really am not sure how effective the Traumeel tablets were in either case.
Perhaps the fact that I didn't come in limping after either of the training runs, or after the 100K, is due in some large measure to the benefits of taking the Traumeel tablets.
Your write-up certainly points out some serious, scary drawbacks to taking Ibuprofen, be it Advil or Motrin or something else.
I think the reason I have taken Motrin in the past, and perhaps why others take it, is because when I take that I definitely notice the pain goes away and I am able to run 3-4 minutes faster per mile.
That is HUGE, if you care about your finish time, have family waiting for you at the finish line, and if you have not actually suffered yet any of the side effects you mention that Ibuprofen causes.
At the very least, I will, in the future, keep using the Traumeel tabs and cream, and try to limit how much I use the Motrin.
Some folks I spoke to after the Leona Divide 50 miler said they had taken 4 to 8 Ibuprofen tablets during that race-I took one.
Granted, their times were better than mine, for I ran about 23 miles of that race in real pain.
Definitely slowed me down, mostly due to the error of going out too fast for my own good in the first 18 miles.
One ultarunner cautioned me to be careful about how much Ibuprofen I take, because he once had to be taken to the hospital after a race, where they discovered he had serious bleeding in the stomach.
He had taken 8-10 Ibuprofen tabs during the race. I can not remember over what time period that it was, but it's a scary enough story.
Thanks again for researching and offering us an alternative.
Have a good run,
I've used traumeel cream many times before for several types of pain. My advice - follow what it says on the packaging. Only use Traumeel for muscle joint pain. I doesn't work for me for anything else and I think that people should try it for themselves before deciding whether it works or not. Thanks for the post!
Hello there! Traumeel also works on me. It helps relieves my muscle pain. Though, I never take it often for I know any tablets is not good for kidneys. Provillus
The info you provided in the blog that was really unique I love it!!! stop inflammation
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