Pain Relief Guide
Pain is supposed to hurt. It’s our body’s way of telling us that something is seriously wrong. But when pain becomes chronic or intense (or both), it can be extremely frustrating.
Information On Pain Relief
Find out how pain relief works today in our pain relief guide.
Most Common Types of Pain
First, let’s talk about the most common types of pain, because they will affect the pain relief method that’s right for you.
— Back And Leg Pain
— Neck, Shoulder, And Arm Pain
— Motor Vehicle, Work-related, Physical Activity-related, Or Whiplash-related Injuries
— Pain Caused By Arthritis
— Pain Caused By Failed Back Surgeries Or Other Surgeries
— Primary And Metastatic Cancer Pain
— Medication Side Effect Management
— Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD)
— Nerve Injuries
— Phantom Limb Pain
Pain Associated with Other Conditions and Specific Illnesses
— Vascular Pain
— Pelvic Pain
— Pediatric Pain
— Raynaud’s Disease Pain
— Trigerminal Neuralgia
— Spinal Cord Injury
The Most Popular Pain Relief Medications
Pain relief medications come in different shapes and forms. Different categories of pain medication work in different ways to achieve similar effects (the ultimate goal is to trick the brain into thinking it’s not experiencing pain).
Pain medications are classified as “analgesics”. There are multiple kinds of analgesics, all of which come with their own unique risks and advantages. Everybody is different, which means we respond to different pain medications in different ways.
Some of the most popular pain medications in the world today include:
— Acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol (good for relieving pain and fever, but can be toxic to the liver in large doses)
— Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include naproxen (better known as Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). NSAIDs are commonly taken to relieve pain caused by injury, arthritis, or fever. They can also relieve the pain associated with menstruation.
The above treatments are the most popular over the counter treatment methods.
Which Pain Relief Medications Are Best?
Use: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or Naproxen
For long-term treatment of headaches, many people recommend adding more water to your diet. Dehydration is the most common cause of headaches in the world. Water is also much safer long-term than NSAIDs (which can increase the risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers when used repeatedly) and acetaminophen (which can damage your liver long-term).
Use: Ibuprofen or naproxen
Muscle soreness is best-relieved by NSAIDs, as this is what they were originally created to do. However, if you’re trying to treat long-term muscle soreness, consider stretching before and after a workout. Or, start training for flexibility – like through yoga.
Back, Neck, or Shoulder Pain
Use: Any over-the-counter pain reliever
Some people use muscle relaxants to relieve soreness in their back, neck, or shoulder. ConsumerReports.org recently reported, however, that muscle relaxants have risks that “include addiction, sedation, fatigue, and dizziness” and that research has shown “that they don’t work any better than OTC acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.”
Long-term treatment methods for back, neck, and shoulder pain include better stretching, gentle exercise, heating pads, massages, and yoga.
Use: Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all popular solutions; some people also take combination medications that combine acetaminophen with aspirin and caffeine, like Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine).
If you still suffer from migraines after using these treatment methods, consider talking to your doctor about prescription drugs called triptans.
A better long-term treatment method is to identify your triggers. Common triggers that cause migraine headaches include alcohol, caffeine, cheese, and food additives like MSG.
Use: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen
All of the over the counter medications listed above are proven ways to fight back against pain, stiffness, and immobility.
Use: Aspirin or ibuprofen
The most important thing to remember when treating hangover pain is to avoid acetaminophen, as it can harm the liver. Your liver is already suffering enough, so use aspirin or ibuprofen instead. Avoid taking either medication on an empty stomach, as it could inflame the stomach lining.
Which Drug is Right for You?
We can narrow down your pain relief medication recommendations even further by knowing a little more about you. Here are some things to remember when shopping for pain medications:
Avoid NSAIDs If You:
— Have Heart Problems
— Have High Blood Pressure
The only exception to this rule is with aspirin. Other NSAIDs have been shown to increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Avoid Acetaminophen If You:
— Drink Three Or More Alcoholic Beverages Per Day
— Combine Alcohol With Over The Counter Pain Medications
Acetaminophen damages the liver even in small doses and can increase the risk of liver failure.
What About Pain Relief Creams?
Pain relief creams are also a popular way to treat many different conditions. Pain relief creams come in the following varieties:
— Topical NSAIDs: Ideal for joint or muscle strains or bruises. You apply these creams directly to the target area, then let the cream get absorbed through your skin.
— Other OTC Creams: Icy Hot is one “other” pain relief cream that primarily contains aspirin.
The main risk of topical pain relievers and pain relief creams is that you don’t reduce your risk of stomach bleeding associated with oral NSAIDs. So if you were taking a cream for that purpose, then the cream won’t help you.