Medications play an effective role in the treatment of pain. Your doctor may prescribe several medications to help reduce pain and associated symptoms that are caused by unhealthy conditions or deformities.

When healthcare professionals prescribe a pain medication regimen, the precise needs of the patient are considered including severity of the pain, length of time with pain and medical history of the individual. The main goal of prescribing medications is to reduce the patient’s pain and increase his/her comfort level while reducing adverse side effects and the danger of misuse or abuse of the medications.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers are medications available without a doctor's prescription. They include acetaminophen, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and topical pain relievers.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs help to reduce fever and alleviate pain caused by general muscle aches and stiffness. Moreover, NSAIDs can also reduce inflammation. NSAIDs help relieve pain by reducing the level of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that cause pain.
  • Topical pain relievers (Aspercreme, Ben-Gay, and Capsaicin) include creams, lotions and sprays that are applied to the skin of painful muscles or joints to ease pain.

Your doctor may also prescribe prescription strength NSAIDs for pain relief which have a higher amount of medication requiring a prescription. Alternately, your physician may recommend short term use of opioids or narcotic medications for pain relief.

Your doctor will discuss all available options based on your particular condition.