There are various pain medications and treatments available. The right treatment depends on the cause of the pain, the associated diagnosis and symptoms as well as the severity of the pain. Pain medications can have side effects.
Common Treatment Techniques and Medication
The common medications to treat pain include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, topical pain medication, and injections.
Over the Counter (OTC) Pain Relievers:
The over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
Both pain relievers are helpful in reducing stiffness and muscle aches but only NSAIDs reduce swelling and inflammation associated with the pain. They do this by reducing the production of prostaglandins that cause pain. Acetaminophen works by altering the pain messages received by the brain.
There are also over-the-counter topical pain relievers available. They come in the form of creams, sprays or lotions. They do, however, only provide relief for a short period of time after applying.
Prescription Pain Relievers:
Prescription pain relievers are stronger than over-the-counter drugs. Some examples are corticosteroids, opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and different types of NSAIDs.
Corticosteroids are very strong medications that provide pain relief by reducing inflammation and swelling. They come in the form of pills and injections. They are commonly used in interventional pain management to target certain areas of the body.
Trigger point injections can be used to treat pain caused by spams and knots of the muscle as well as the inability of the muscle to relax. Lidocaine is injected into the muscles to help accomplish this.