Some options for pain relief:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Naproxen Sodium (Aleve, Naprosyn) and Aspirin
How they work: NSAIDs reduce inflammation associated with muscle and joint pain. They block one or more of the chemicals (prostaglandins) responsible for producing inflammation in the body. However, Know this: too many of these pills can create side effects including nausea, dizziness and heartburn. NSAIDS should be taken AS DIRECTED. NEVER tinker with the recommended dosage.
Acetaminophen or Paracetamol (Tylenol, Panadol)
How it works: Acetaminophen relieves pain but doesn’t treat inflammation. Since acetaminophen does not affect the lining of your stomach (as NSAIDs do), it can have fewer side effects. However, Know this: Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because too much can lead to liver damage. Seek medical advice before taking it for longer than the recommended dose.
Ointments (like BioFreeze, BenGay, Icy Hot, Tiger Balm)
How they work: These are known as “counter irritants.” Gels and creams ease discomfort via distraction. By causing a cooling or warming sensation on your skin through an ingredient like menthol or capsaicin, your brain concentrates on the weird sensations on your skin, and turns its attention away from the pain. However, Know this: These products are for short-term relief and may irritate your skin. Too much can make you quite ill. Follow the label when using.
Ice Packs and Heating Pads
How they work: The general rule is this—Ice is best during the first 48 to 72 hours after injury to help reduce inflammation. After that, heat provides comfort and pain relief. Know this: Don’t keep ice on one spot for more than 20 minutes – you can damage your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad, even on the lowest setting. The constant heat could cause burns.
Sprays, creams and patches (like Aspercreme and Salonpas)
How they work: These products contain aspirin or other NSAIDs, and are applied topically to aches and pains. the NSAIDS then diffuse through the skin to provide pain relief/decrease inflammation. However, Know this: They can be pricey and can cause skin irritation from the medicine itself or (in the case of patches) the glue used. For some patients, they can be a good option.