A Must Read (but read what I say below before clicking the link and leaving my blog, lol)...
This morning I came across what I consider a must-read article by Alex Hutchinson after reading his Sweat Science Blog. I was smiling ear to ear. Basically the article cites current research and makes a case for the same thing I've been saying for a while now -- don't load up on NSAIDs/painkillers to "treat" your injury; instead, let nature take its course. You're not treating and/or healing anything with the pills, you're just masking the pain and, worse, preventing the natural healing process from taking place.
The bottom line is: Natural swelling/inflammation from an acute injury is a positive thing because it means you're healing and affected tissues will grow back stronger. The pills screw that up. Not to mention, the traditional idea of R.I.C.E., mainly the ice, compression, elevation parts, aren't so wise either (especially ice, which majorly restricts blood flow, thus preventing swelling). However, the "R" in R.I.C.E., aka rest, is good when injured, even if we hate to admit it and stick to it, yea yea :) One more thing... there's a difference between acute and chronic swelling. Acute is OK, chronic is no bueno.
I guess the question comes down to this regarding acute injury: Do you NEED relief now or can you tough it out, heal naturally and come back stronger? If you need instant relief, go ahead and take your pills to mask the pain, but if you can wait, you'll be in better shape in the long run.