Table of Contents
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) or diclofenac gel
Both the above are fever reducers and pain relievers which is generally caused by muscle aches and stiffness, but only NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling and irritation). Acetaminophen and NSAIDs also have a different mechanism of action.
NSAIDs relieve pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are the source of pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen works neurologically on the parts of the brain with the nerves that receive the “pain messages.” NSAIDs are also available in a prescription strength that can be prescribed by your physician.
The use of NSAIDs continuously and especially at high doses can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke and have also been documented to cause stomach ulcers and bleeding. They have been associated with kidney problems. Taking acetaminophen (tylenol) regularly at high doses can also cause sliver problem, also it can be an emergency if it is taken at a large amount at once intentionally.
Prescription Pain Relievers
Prescription pain relievers include:
- Anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Lidocaine patches
What Are Corticosteroids?
Prescription based corticosteroids provide immediate relief for inflamed areas of the body by easing swelling, redness, itching and other allergic reactions. Corticosteroids are used to treat allergies, asthma and cases of arthritis. They are generally given in the form of pills or injections when used to reduce pain.
Examples of corticosteroids include prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.
At Ipain Specialists we assess your overall health before prescribing corticosteroids as these are strong medicines and may cause serious side effects, some of them listed below:
- Weight gain and salt retention
- Trouble sleeping
- Weakened immune system
- Thinning of the bones and skin
- High sugar levels
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Mood changes
To minimize these potential side effects, our pain specialists Dr Shabrez Tariq and Dr Sara Goel, at iPain Specialist prescribe corticosteroids at the lowest dose possible for as short of a length of time as needed to relieve the pain. We also devise other ways to minimize these side effects such as to dispense the steroid by injection to target the problemarea. This helps in avoiding systemic absorption which is associated with the problems mentionedabove.
Contact Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants