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Aspirin, I have no idea how this stuff works.
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By Orphaned
Feb 17, 2012
Here is all I know about aspirin.

It's a blood thinner
It's a pain killer
It's an anti inflammatory
Most of my friend and I opt for ibuprofen or naproxen instead

I was thinking though, maybe it's awesome and we as climbers are ignoring it. Or maybe, my ideas seem great in my head and don't hold up.

As a pain killer, it's probably almost as effective as ibuprofen and most of my friends climb on that. So this isn't to add something, it's to substitute something that may do more than kill pain.

As a blood thinner, I think it would totally help climbers with the pump. Blood occlusion occurs when the arterial blood can't travel back to the heart in the venous system. Maybe thinner blood would travel through the occluded vessels easier. It makes sense kindof.

Another idea, possibly worse for me than most, is for outer extremity warmth. I will get the screaming barfies riding a bike at night in the winter, playing disc golf with mittens, and I generally get the barfies after putting on my crampons (but that's cool because I have warm hands by the time the climbing starts). I think I have what an undiagnosed person would call Reynauds but in reality, my case is so minor compared to real Reynauds that for me to claim that would be an insult to the people who really have to deal with it.

God that paragraph wandered a lot. So, would thinner blood get to the extremities better than thicker? Thus keeping them warmer? That's all I had to ask, fucking succinctness.

I can think of a reason or two not to take aspirin too, also, I have no idea how legit these ideas are either.

If you get an internal or external injury, the bleeding might be worse. I really don't know how bad this would be. I've not gashed myself on and off of aspirin to find out.

Maybe even for people like me who don't bruise, you'd bruise more. I'm not sure that's how it works though.

If you have lots of muscle fiber damage, maybe thinner blood could bleed through and slow healing time. I'm not sure if muscle fibers actually bleed at the microscopic level when they go through exercise induced micro-tears.


Final thought, is there any research on what differences over the counter pain killers can cause to the electrical signals that actually fire our muscles? A short circuit or misfire would negate any positive effect anything would have.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Feb 17, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
The only real side effect I've ever heard of is that because it does thin the blood, this affects the stomach lining as well. That's why some people get gastric problems/heartburn/nausea when they take it. Prolonged use is said to have caused or at least contributed to internal bleeding of the stomach and/or liver. I think these cases are probably rare though. Taking it more than 5 days in a row is a bad idea. Other than that, it's probably just as good and maybe better as any other NSAID. Of course, I could be completely talking out of my ass too.

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Feb 17, 2012
Axes glistening in the sun
FUnny you mention about the thinner blood as I had the same hypothesis when I was a competative swimmer back in the day. I would take aspirin before my meets. Can't say definatively if it actually did anything for performance. Took care of any aches I had though.

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Feb 17, 2012
Axes glistening in the sun
johnL wrote:
When I was on the swim team, if I swam the 500, the whole crowd would cheer for me. This was because I was the last one left in the pool, by a minute or more.



That's funny! Can't say I had the experience though. Toot my horn, I swam division I.

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By Marc R
From Boulder, CO
Feb 17, 2012
Dog Safety
Is the only reason you're considering aspirin is to use it as a blood thinner? or do you need the anti inflammatory/pain relief properties as well? I think if you take it with food it won't be as harsh on your stomach. If youre only want to get blood thinning or increased circulation consider ginkgo biloba. 100mg 2x a day with food. I use it to help with running at higher altitudes.

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By Gabe K
Feb 17, 2012
I know this doesn't answer your question directly, but it provides some food for thought: If you haven't researched this sort of thing already, it's worth looking into Let me know if you find out anything definitive!

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By kpbo
From upstate NY
Feb 17, 2012
jammin'
also apparently good for birth control.

sorry...just couldn't resist the low-hanging fruit.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Feb 17, 2012
El Chorro
I know that a daily low dose of aspirin was once thought to be good for a weak heart, but I think that view has recently been challenged. Either way I don't think a baby aspirin a day will do any damage to your stomach - there is plenty of research out there. I've even read that it helps prevent liver damage from over consumption of alcohol and even paracetamol.

Vitamin E and fish oil are natural blood thinners...

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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Feb 17, 2012
Me and Spearhead
Aside from the downsides of slowing the healing process that Gabe cited, there's also the fact that NSAID's (aspirin included) can in fact kill you and a fair number of people die each year from complications associated with chronic NSAID use.

As far as helping w/ the pump during climbing... that has more to do with how much O2 the tissue is getting. When you're talking about "thinning" the blood that's more to do w/ the platelet activity and clotting.
Red blood cells are responsible for the oxygen delivery so the if you're interested in bumping up your anaerobic threshold (making it more difficult to get pumped) you've pretty much got two choices, at least that I'm aware of. 1) increase the number of red blood cells 2) Do specific anaerobic training to make your forearm muscles more effective at working in a low O2 environment.

You can use drugs to increase erythrocyte production, that would be EPO but if you're doing that you'll probably want to add the aspirin in for the blood "thinning" effect because the human heart wasn't really designed to pump something the consistency of peanut butter and heart failure is a real possibility when on EPO.

One last thought. The blood thinning ability of aspirin is pretty minimal. It's enough of an effect to help out relatively healthy folks who are trying to avoid complications from a random blood clot but it's really a weak blood thinner compared to Warfarin or Coumadin. If you're on something like that it's serious to the point that you're told not to fly or do any aggressive physical activity because you've severely impaired the body's ability to stop bleeding.

Interesting questions, sorry I don't have a better suggestion for keeping the hands warm beyond stuffing them down your pants and holding your nads for a few minutes.
BA

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By dannl
Feb 17, 2012
Aspirin does not thin the blood like you are thinking about it. It reduces the ability of platelets to form clots, preventing stroke and heart attack (clots blocking blood vessels). So it will help you bleed out faster when you fall and get hurt. It does not change the viscosity of the blood.

Aspirin has many more effects than your average drug though. It can affect blood pressure but it depends on what time of the day you take it. You would want lower blood pressure during the day which apparently doesn't work, and aspirin and some other pain-relievers actually increase blood pressure if you take enough.

So I don't think it will do what you want. Remember that veins don't have as much smooth muscle like arteries to push the blood along. So returning blood to the heart is the work of your muscles and movement. So movement, massage, 10 min of icing are all things that work to push blood along - shaking out works for a reason. Try intermittent jumping jacks and report back, seriously.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Feb 17, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
johnL wrote:
Do they have to be my nads?


Doesn't have to be, but if you're in the market for making a bastard one day soon, it's good for the squigglies to be a few degrees cooler than body temp.

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By Niccole
From Denver, CO
Feb 17, 2012
A day in the creek
I'm an RN. I would not take anything prophylactically unless ordered by a MD. Meaning just in case or because it might do your body good. NSAIDS are actually just as hard on your stomach as ASA is and if at all possible should be taken with food. ASA and NSAIDS are very similar in the way they work. So taking either one should be fine as long as you don't have a blood problem already. I don't think that there has been any conclusions to say either of these medications have anything to do with muscle firing, what they do is look for substance called prostglandins that are body releases to tell us we are pain and they stop them basically reducing or eliminating the amount that cause the pain. So there you have it. And both taken more than the directions on the bottle can get you in serious trouble as I seen many many times. Oh and both of these medications increase risk to bleeding so when having an open wound that is bleeding a lot - go to the hospital don't take anything. If you are not bleeding then handle as normal. Hope this helps.

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By dannl
Feb 17, 2012
Also, whenever you take any pills, for ***** sake take it with a full glass of water or food like mentioned above. Think about a pill sitting on the smooth pink lining of your stomach and compare that to a salted slug.

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By Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Feb 17, 2012
Edge of Time, Jurassic Park
NF kappa B inflamation pathway

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By Keith Noback
Feb 17, 2012
Please, warm up hands before applying hands to nads, few things in life are a good idea every time, that is one of them.
Aspirin irreversibly inhibits an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. This enzyme sits at the start of a couple of different signalling pathways that the body uses to call white blood cells to areas of injury, start the other parts of the inflammatory process, and activate platelets, the blood cells that begin the process of blood clotting. Low dose aspirin does reduce your risk of heart attack, it also does increase your risk of stomach bleeding. Depending on which of those is greater for you, it may make sense to take a baby aspirin a day or not. As for the rest, the data is mighty thin, and (watch out, this is another one of those things that is a good idea every time) you shouldn't take a pill without some proof that it works for what you're taking it for.

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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Feb 17, 2012
25' drop...wheeeeee!
Irreversible enzyme inhibition means that the enzyme stays inhibited after the inhibitor is out of your system, so the enzyme activity is inhibited for as long as it takes your body to make more. For the cyclooxygenase in platelets that means as long as it takes to replenish the platelets (2-3 days). Ibuprofen also inhibits the COX enzymes, but reversibly, and actually can protect COX from irreversible inhibition from aspirin.


Try not to overdo it with NSAIDs though. In addition to the healing inhibition mentioned, they've been associated with hearing loss. Also: A study by Kaiser Permanente found that "regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use is associated with erectile dysfunction beyond what would be expected due to age and other condition."

With that in mind, sore joints don't sound too bad, eh?

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By Louis Eubank
From Boston, MA
Feb 17, 2012
johnL - No, your myocytes don't bleed (at a micro or macroscopic level) when you stress them to the point of creating micro tears. That action occurs in the actin and myosin binding sites.

Your concerns about bleeding, due to aspirin's anti-coagulant properties, are both correct and incorrect. You really wouldn't notice much of a difference with the average cuts we get on our hands, but if you were on a larger aspirin regimen and took a serious whipper that resulted in internal injuries, the added hemorrhaging could be quite serious.

All this aside, if you end up with serious pain after climbing, aspirin and ibuprofen together make an excellent regimen. FOR 24 HOURS ONLY, take 200mg ibuprofen, wait 2 hrs, take 200mg aspirin, wait 2 hours, repeat. Make sure you're taking all pills with something in your stomach (doesn't need to be much, a few crackers or half a slice of bread is plenty).

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By ErikaNW
Feb 17, 2012
Rapping off the Matron October, 2010
Another strike against NSAIDs - when taken after heavy exercise (disclaimer - in rabbits) there was an immediate increase in muscle strength (on day 3), but an overall decline in muscle strength at 28 days. The theory being that it inhibits the necessary inflammation that helps the muscle remodel to become stronger in response to exercise.

Doesn't have much to do with your original question, but a lot of people take ibuprofen after exercise to prevent normal muscle soreness, and it might not be helpful if the goal is to become stronger.

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By Buff Johnson
Feb 17, 2012
smiley face
no kidding, MW, what the hell was that??

JL -- you up for Ouray this next weekend? We got a bunch going down, and you can probably get better info as well.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 15, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
PS I am a RN. Aspirin - aka 'ASA' - is not a anti-inflammatory drug.

Ibuprofen is what Motrin is. They are in a class called NSAID's - Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.

ASA has no anti-inflammatory properties to it but to offers anti-coagulation benefits for those who have had a heart attack before, and a 81 mg tab per day is said to help prevent one as well. However, both ASA and NSAID's can cause stomach and GI bleeding over time for some - so one has to be careful and outweigh the benefits versus the risks.

But if you are looking to treat inflammation - such a tendonitis - skip the ASA and go with the Motrin.

Any other questions - just ask!

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By Hansel
From Boulder, CO
Apr 15, 2012
My ride
Michael Urban wrote:
But if you are looking to treat inflammation - such a tendonitis - skip the ASA and go with the Motrin.


One would be much better off avoiding ibuprofen or any of its derivatives while trying to heal tendonitis, as it will only delay healing and increase the likelihood of future injury. See Gabe K's post and links above.

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 15, 2012
Stabby
A little bit of thread drift here, but does anybody know WTF happened to Excedrin? I know they recalled a batch a while ago due to something like broken pill issues, but that was months ago and no sign of the stuff coming back. It seems a little conspiratorial.

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By Buff Johnson
Apr 15, 2012
smiley face
A little bit of an issue with percocet & morphine getting into the process. I guess they have to revamp a bunch of stuff. Excedrin would be good to have again; works for me.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 15, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
Tendonitis is a difficult inflammation to get to heal being the tendons don't readily have a blood supply, etc - and even cortisone shots don't typically do much for it as well. Usually it's a time factor for them to heal unless torn, etc.

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By Rob Fielding
From Las Vegas, NV
Apr 15, 2012
Third pillar of dana descent.
Michael,

I think you need to review your pharmacology because aspirin is definately labeled a NSAID... as well as many other properties.

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 15, 2012
Stabby
Percoset and Morphine? No wonder it worked so well.

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