Try them: Immediately after overexertion and for a few days afterward.
How they work: NSAIDs, such as aspirin (found in Bayer), ibuprofen (in Advil), and naproxen (in Aleve), block cyclooxygenase, an enzyme in the body that is responsible for causing inflammation and pain.
Bear in mind: Follow the prescribed doses on the label exactly. NSAIDs aren’t candy, and taking more will not alleviate aches better or faster. Also keep in mind that though NSAIDs are fine for short-term use, “they vary in effectiveness for delayed-onset muscle pain,” says Robert Hyldahl, an athletic trainer and a doctoral candidate in kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Tip: Liquid-filled capsules work faster than tablets.