Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat many common ailments. Some familiar brands are Advil, Motrin, and Midol. These medications are very easy to obtain and take, however, how do you know how much ibuprofen is too much for those aches and pains? Here are some common reasons for using ibuprofen and if they are a good idea (or not).

1. After a hard workout to avoid soreness. 

When you start to feel sore the next day after a hard workout, should you use ibuprofen? No. The best way to recover from a workout and reduce swelling is to keep moving and not solely rely on medication. Ibuprofen can disrupt your body's healing of tendons, cartilage, and ligaments and slow rebuilding of muscle cells.

2. For menstrual cramps. 

When it's that time of the month should you reach to the medicine cabinet to ease the pain? Sure. Ibuprofen lessens pain by decreasing contractions of the uterus. Cramps usually occur due to release of substances called prostaglandins. Ibuprofen produces lower levels of prostaglandin and thus decreases inflammation.

3. For a hangover. 

If you ever wake up with a killer headache after a night out, should you take ibuprofen? Sure.

Ibuprofen is much safer to take than acetaminophen (Tylenol) because acetaminophen is converted in the liver to harmless compounds. Although after drinking, the liver is too busy metabolizing the alcohol you had to process the Tylenol. This means that the painkiller can become toxic and cause liver damage. Maybe stick to Ibuprofen. 

4. For acute injuries.

If your back or neck is hurting or you've twisted your ankle, is ibuprofen okay? Sure. Ibuprofen reduces tissue swelling and controls pain. It is actually must better to take than aspirin according to doctors because it is more effective.

So, how often can I actually take ibuprofen?

I asked Dr. Christie Prestifilippo, MD from New Jersey how often it is acceptable to take ibuprofen. She told me on a short term basis from 7-10 days, it is okay to take the dosage 600 mg regularly 3 times a day always with food. If you don't eat, your stomach could get upset. If you have a sensitive stomach add Pepcid to your ibuprofen dosage. As long as you do not have any other diseases, are not on blood thinners or have ulcers, and are not taking it for longer than 7-10 days, ibuprofen is safe. 

Ibuprofen can feel like a life-saver as long as you use it correctly and don't rely on it for all pain!