Pain medications


  • The Counter Pain Relievers
  • Prescription Pain Relief
  • What Are Corticosteroids ?
  • What are Opioids?
  • What are antidepressants?
  • More

Pain medications, whether over-the-counter, prescription, or both, can help manage chronic pain and other types of Pain. It’s essential to take care when using these powerful drugs. Start with the least dangerous pharmaceuticals and the lowest dose possible for the shortest time. Then, you can work your way up.

Always be aware of side effects, interactions, and other medications and supplements that you may take. Always follow the instructions on the label or those prescribed by your doctor.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Pain relievers available over the counter include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications ( NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Both acetaminophen and NSAIDs reduce fever, relieve muscle aches, and reduce stiffness. However, only NSAIDs can reduce inflammation, which includes swelling, heat, redness due to an injury, or irritation. Acetaminophen works differently from NSAIDs. NSAIDs reduce Pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that can cause pain or inflammation. Acetaminophen acts on parts of the Brain that receive “pain signals.” You can also get NSAIDs in prescription strength from your doctor.

NSAIDs can cause bleeding and stomach ulcers. They also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Also, they can cause kidney problems. Acetaminophen taken in high doses regularly can lead to liver problems. A medical emergency occurs when you take a considerable amount at once, accidentally or intentionally.

Topical pain relievers can also be purchased without a prescription. These products are creams, sprays, or lotions that can be applied directly to the surface to reduce Pain caused by sore muscles and osteoarthritis. Topical pain relievers can include Aspercreme and BenGay.

Prescription Pain Relief

Pain medications include:


  • Opioids
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications)
  • NSAIDs
  • Lidocaine patches

What are corticosteroids, and how do they work?

Corticosteroids are prescribed to relieve inflammation in the body. They reduce swelling, itching, and other symptoms. Corticosteroids are used to treat arthritis, allergies, and asthma. They are usually given as pills or injections to target a specific joint when used to control Pain. Examples include methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and prednisone.

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Corticosteroids prescribed by doctors are potent medicines that can have severe side effects.

  • Gain and Salt Retention
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease
  • Changes in mood
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Immune system weakening
  • Skin and bone thinned
  • High sugar levels

Corticosteroids should be prescribed at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period necessary to relieve Pain. The steroid can be given by injection in Pain to minimize side effects.

What are Opioids?

Opioids can be natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic. Opioids can treat acute Pain, such as short-term Pain following surgery. Examples of opioids are:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone-acetaminophen
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxycodone-acetaminophen

Opioids can be effective in treating severe Pain, and they do not cause bleeding in the stomach. They can be addictive, and doctors may try to prescribe alternatives. When opioids are prescribed to treat Pain, people rarely become addicted. If opioids are used to treat chronic back pain, addiction can be dangerous.

Opioids can have a variety of side effects.

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Breathing Problems
  • Addiction

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants can treat emotional and Pain conditions by adjusting neurotransmitters in the Brain. These drugs can help increase the body’s ability to relax and feel good. This is especially helpful for people with chronic conditions like Pain that don’t respond well to the usual treatment. Certain antidepressants, such as tricyclics, are best for nerve or neuropathic Pain.

Chronic Pain is treated with low-dose antidepressants, as are some headaches and menstrual cramps. Some antidepressant medication includes:

  • SSRIs such as citalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), or sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and desipramine.
  • The SNRIs are serotonin-norepinephrine receptor reuptake (SNRI) inhibitors such as duloxetine, Cymbalta, and Venlafaxine.

These drugs need a constant dose to build up in the body to work. The amounts required to treat Pain are often lower than the ones needed to treat depression.

SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants have fewer side effects. Antidepressants are associated with the following side effects:

  • Blurry Vision
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Dry Mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sexual dysfunction

What are anticonvulsants (anticonvulsants)?

Anticonvulsants treat seizures. Some of these medications can also be used to treat Pain. It is unclear how these medications control Pain, but they are thought to reduce the effect of nerves that sense Pain. Examples include carbamazepine, gabapentin, pregabalin and topiramate.

Anticonvulsants generally are well tolerated. The most common side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Other Pain Treatments

Another option for topical pain relief is the lidocaine patch (Lidoderm), a prescription medicine.

Muscle relaxers depress the central nervous system. They relieve muscle spasms and tension and can cause drowsiness. These drugs can be used for acute back pain or nerve pain. These can be used to treat muscle pain at night from fibromyalgia.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in pain management if the standard treatments do not work. Doctors who are experts in Pain Management can try different treatments, such as Physical Therapy and other types of medicine. The doctors may also suggest TENS, a procedure that uses patches on the skin that send signals to help reduce Pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a surgical procedure that involves the partial or complete implantation of a small device similar to a pacemaker into the epidural area adjacent to the part of the spine believed to be causing the Pain. The device sends small electric pulses to the Brain through leads