Kathe and Les talk about the different pain medicationsMedications Do Not Eliminate Pain Completely

There are different pain medications out on the market. Pain medications are drugs used to relieve discomfort related to an illness, an injury or surgery and it is a complex process. Kathe and Les are back in this episode to talk about the article, Real Pain Relief, Now! There are different pain medications that provide relief by acting through a variety of mechanisms. When you are taking any kind of medication, you should start with the lowest dose possible. This is to alleviate your pain and not jump into a large dose. If you start with Ibuprofen for instance, which is usually 200mg per pill. The doctor will prescribe 800mg but you should start with the 200mg, if the 200mg does it, that’s what you should live with.

A section of the article starts out by saying, “The goal of pills, patches, and creams is to take the pain down a couple of notches, not eliminate it completely.” This is to allow the person to exercise, work and socialize. Because, when you can take the pain down then you can do the movement which we talked about in the last episode. The typical doctor is going to just prescribe pain medications because the typical doctor is not necessarily trained on chronic pain. Just like we’ve said on the first episode, there’s 1 doctor in every 28,500 people that’s trained in chronic pain. And chronic pain is not helped by these short term drugs that are being tried. That's the downside when taking these different pain medications.

Different Pain Medications that Relieve Pain

Supplements. There are different pain medications that are prescribed and there are some that are necessarily not prescribed but can be helpful. Which falls under the category of supplements. Marijuana may relieve certain types of pain. The drug industry is not funding trials on supplements because they want to sell their drugs. Supplements like fish oil help reduce inflammation type pain and pain that is neurological. Another one is vitamin B and D. If you have deficiencies in these vitamins certain types of pain are going to be worse.

Over-the-Counter Drugs. One of the other things that I found interesting that drugs like Ibuprofen and Aleve reduce swelling whereas Acetaminophen (Tylenol) makes you think that you’re not feeling pain. For Les’ personal experience, Ibuprofen works better than Acetaminophen for most of his pain. For headache pain though, Acetaminophen works better for Les than Ibuprofen. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are good for muscle and joint pain but they don’t seem to be very effective against nerve pain. A combination of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen has had an effect very similar to opioids but you need to talk to your doctor before doing these combinations.

Topical Creams. Topical creams like Tiger balm don’t necessarily make the pain go away as much as they make your body react to the burning/cold sensation, taking away from the other pain. There are these compounds called salicylates that produce the feeling of heat or cold to keep the nerves busy transmitting those sensations of pain instead of pain.

Prescribed Drugs

Antidepressants. There are different pain medications that need a prescription. Some doctors prescribe antidepressants for pain, which seems to be dangerous. There’s only one of that drug that has any connection with pain and that is duloxetine (Cymbalta). But it has a side effect of weight gain, constipation, and suicidal thoughts. Small doses can help with fibromyalgia, headache prevention, and pain dueDifferent Pain Medications to nerve damage.

Anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants are dealing with the nervous system. If you have nerve pain it would have some effect but it doesn’t help if you have back pain. Also, like antidepressants, it can cause suicidal thoughts. These things that are working on your nervous system can cause weird thoughts. Samples of these drugs are pregabalin (Lyrica), and carbamazepine (Epitol and generic). Epitol can cause deadly allergic reactions. Not only you have these suicidal thoughts but you could die taking that drug.

Muscle Relaxants. When you have a muscle that cramps up, relaxing that muscle is going to help with that pain. Also, When Les has Sciatica, which he has every once in a while, the pain is not a nerve that is being pinched as much as the muscle that is cramping up. He thought that a muscle relaxant would be the right thing to take but he doesn’t like to take it very often. It makes him tired and groggy. Muscle relaxants only work for 3 weeks. And you should never take these alongside opioids.

Opioids. Considered to be some of the strongest painkillers available. It can have a positive effect when you have pain but you should not take it on a long term basis because they can have serious consequences like increased sensitivity to pain, which may result to dependency and overdose.


With these different pain medications, you have to take them very carefully. Most of the medications you take have different side effects on your body. These are just one part of a pain treatment plan and there are many things you can do to help ease the pain.

Mentioned in this Episode:

ConsumerReports.org – Real Pain Relief, Now!

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