Pain Management

June 1, 2024

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed about how many pain medications are available over the counter?

The safest option for general aches and pains is acetaminophen, or Tylenol. Acetaminophen can be found in many combination products, so when taking this medication, it is important to carefully read all of the labels on your medications to see what they contain. When taking Tylenol, make sure to reduce alcohol intake and not take more than 3,000 mg per day.

If you are experiencing pain associated with swelling, an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) may work best. Use caution when taking ibuprofen or naproxen if you have kidney disease, GERD, or a history of stomach ulcers. Do not use ibuprofen or naproxen if you are taking warfarin, aspirin, or water pills. If you are unsure if you should take ibuprofen or acetaminophen, ask your pharmacist.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing joint pain, you may want to try a topical pain reliever, such as diclofenac (Voltaren) gel, IcyHot, or capsaicin. If using capsaicin, use only a very small amount, use gloves when applying, and wash hands very well with soap and water afterward. Be careful not to get the product in the eyes. It is also important to be aware that the product will hurt first before providing pain relief.

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