Top 10 Types of Pain Relievers
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
September 21, 2012
Filed Under Health
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
If you’re a pain sufferer, you know that finding the right pain medication can be a real pain in the neck.
Pain and its causes are varied so there are many pain relievers, both over-the-counter and prescription. Guidance in determining which is right for you should start with your doctor or a pharmacist, but it helps to know the types of pain killers available to make sure you’re getting the right one in the right dosage for you.
The most versatile, safe and inexpensive pain reliever, aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves mild to moderate pain from muscle aches, headaches, toothaches and cold symptoms. It also reduces fever, relieves swelling from injuries and arthritis and in low doses has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by preventing blood clots.
For those who can’t tolerate aspirin’s side effects, acetaminophen provides similar mild to moderate pain relief from headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis and similar pains. The most common brand name of acetaminophen is Tylenol, which is available in various strengths both over-the-counter and by prescription. Acetaminophen is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
Ibuprofen is an NSAID pain reliever that is often better tolerated than aspirin by pain sufferers with stomach problems. It is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and is effective for treating the pain of bruises and sprains. Brand names of ibuprofen include Advil, Motrin IB, and Nuprin.
Celecoxib is a sulfa non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and selective COX-2 inhibitor, which means it targets COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain. Sold under the brand name Celebrex, it is effective it treating moderate pain from rheumatoid arthritis and menstruation. Side effects include heart risk and stomach bleeding.
Alcohol is used by many for pain relief because the ethanol in alcohol depresses the central nervous system. While providing a small temporary dose of relief, the problems with alcohol make it a dangerous pain relief choice. The body builds up a tolerance for alcohol, so the amount needed increases quickly and can lead to addiction. Health problems include stomach ulcers and liver ailments, and alcohol causes adverse reactions with most other medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
With more states passing or at least considering the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, researchers are confirming its pain relief potential. Clinical trials have confirmed that the cannabinoids in marijuana are effective relieving pain caused by multiple sclerosis and some neurological injuries or illnesses.
The ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific points in the body by manipulating thin needles inserted in the skin. Recipients of the treatment say this regulation of the flow of vital energy in the body relieves pain in the back, joints, neck, head and other areas.
Morphine is an extremely powerful opiate analgesic pain reliever derived from opium. It acts directly on the central nervous system to relieve pain. Side effects include mental impairment, euphoria, drowsiness and blurred vision. Morphine is highly addictive and withdrawals are painful and potentially fatal.
Pethidine, better known as Demerol, was the first synthetic opioid, synthesized in a lab in 1932 as a possible safer pain reliever than morphine. It was later found to be no more effective than morphine while carrying similar addition dangers.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiod pain medication developed in 1916 as an alternative to morphine. It is effective for moderate to chronic pain with side effects including memory loss, constipation, fatigue and nausea. Widely available under the name OxyContin, it has been abused by users (it is popularly nicknamed “hillbilly heroin”) taking large doses which can cause addiction, severe withdrawal symptoms and death.