Pain Reliever

A variety of pain relievers can be bought over the counter (OTC) by any adult. Some, however, are only available with a prescription from your doctor, particularly if they are stronger and are required for severe pain and chronic conditions.

They are used for a wide range of ailments such as injuries, sprains, strains, back ache, neck ache, burns, headaches, menstrual cramps, cold/flu, and toothache. They can also be used in chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, cancer, and arthritis.

Post-surgical patients may also benefit from taking a regular form of pain relief at some stages in their process of recovery. Pain tolerance levels and individual experience of pain will differ greatly between people.

Some may be experiencing short-term levels of pain and discomfort due to illness or injury. Others may be living with a chronic condition that results in the requirement for a long-term plan for pain management on a daily basis. There is a huge variety of pain relief medication suited to all circumstances and contraindications.

Pain relievers may sometimes be referred to as narcotics, analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or simply as pain medicine or painkillers. There are various categories of medication and a range of brands available.

Pain relievers can also be used to lower high body temperatures when experiencing fever, sometimes associated with illness or infection. Other types of medications, such as opioids or drugs routinely used for depression and seizures.

There are many different types of pain relievers, all of which work differently and are thus suitable to differing conditions and circumstances.

The most common form of pain reliever is acetaminophen, which numbs the pain receptors in the brain, bringing relief for up to 4 hours. Some medications use extended-release technology to ensure that pain relief lasts for an extended period of up to 8 hours, such as Tylenol Arthritis Pain caplets.

NSAIDs work to combat the chemicals and hormones that are responsible for irritating nerve endings, resulting in pain.

The hormone-like chemical called prostaglandin increases when pain is felt and a medication within the NSAID group works directly to lower the levels of this chemical.

Aspirin, Naproxen and Ibuprofen are all examples of NSAID category medications that can be bought over the counter, and that are effective in relieving pain.

Combination pain relievers combine non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication alongside acetaminophen drugs in one convenient dose for dual action relief. Some combination medications, especially those used to treat headaches, also contain caffeine.

Caffeine works by restricting blood flow by narrowing certain vessels, meaning that pain is alleviated.

This is known as a vasoconstrictive effect. Other combination pain relievers may include the addition of a nasal decongestant. Examples are Advil Congestion relief, which can be taken to manage aches, pains, fever, and congestion, all associated with cold and flu.

Combination pain relievers may contain an antihistamine called Diphenhydramine, which is known to aid with sleep. This may be useful in combating pain during the evening, which can not only cause discomfort but also disturb a healthy sleep pattern. Examples include Advil-PM.

Topical pain relievers are medications that are applied directly to the skin. They come in many forms to suit, such as gel, cream, patch, or spray. They may make the skin feel warmer or cooler in order to dull down sensations of pain. These topical pain relievers are good for sprains, muscular and skeletal aches or pains, and burns.

They work by blocking or numbing the pain receptors. An example of a topical pain reliever would be a lidocaine patch, but topical medications may also include other active drugs such as aspirin, capsaicin pepper, or natural ingredients such as peppermint extract.

Some pain relievers use rapid-action technology to ensure that pain is managed fast and effectively. Pain relievers can come in tablet form, soft gel caplets or liquid form.

Acetaminophen may be the safest way of taking pain relief medication during pregnancy. This includes brand names such as Tylenol. Studies support the safe use of acetaminophen medications through pregnancy.

NSAIDs or opioids may increase the risk of birth defects and should be avoided during early pregnancy, unless under the direct supervision of a doctor.

Pain relievers may be needed post-partum, especially after a difficult labour or surgical interventions such as caesarean section births. Most OTC pain relief medications are suitable for use whilst breastfeeding, although care should always be taken.

Always seek medical advice from your GP before taking any medication.