There are a variety of over-the-counter pain relievers available to treat common aches and pains. Most of these drugs contain acetaminophen, which is an anti-inflammatory. This type of pain reliever is safe to take for a variety of ailments, including aches and pains caused by fever, headaches, and muscle aches. Acetaminophen is also a good choice for arthritis pain because it does not cause stomach problems.
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) work by inhibiting the enzymes that are released during tissue damage. By blocking different types of cyclooxygenase, NSAIDs reduce pain associated with injury. They also help the body cope with swelling.
Opioids are another common type of medication. These medications block the pain receptors in the brain. Opioids are highly addictive, and are typically prescribed for short periods after traumatic injury or surgery. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and are used to treat back pain, severe arthritis, and migraines. Topical pain relievers may also be used to treat muscle pain and fibromyalgia.
Nonprescription pain relievers include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These medicines are generally intended to treat acute and short-term pain, and they can lower a fever. But if you’re suffering from chronic or severe pain, you should consult with your healthcare provider.