Pain Relief

Pain is an unpleasant feeling that is caused by any injury, trauma, or illness. It is a major symptom of medical conditions that can be acute or chronic. It could be deep, dull, sharp, shooting, burning, and stabbing in nature. The act of relieving that particular feeling is called pain relief.

What is pain relief medication?

The medications that are used for reducing or getting rid of acute and chronic pain are called pain relief medications. These medications are called analgesics and painkillers. There are three categories of pain relieving medications:

  • Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)
  • Opioids (Morphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Dihydromorphine)
  • Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (Aspirin, Naproxen, Ibuprofen)

Pain relief medications include both prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs. Prescription drugs include some anti-seizures, antidepressants, NSAIDs and opioids (morphine and codeine) as they are stronger medications and should not be taken without a doctor's prescription. Nonprescription drugs include mild anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen and topical creams. They are available at stores and can be easily bought without any prescription. These medications work by temporarily blocking the pain receptors and interrupting with the pain signals and producing an analgesic effect simultaneously. These medications come are available in the form of tablets, capsules, liquids, and injections.

What can cause pain?

Pain can be caused by any injury, trauma, and any other medical condition. It has different sources. These sources include:

  • Cutaneous
  • Somatic
  • Visceral
  • Neuropathic
  • Referred


Cutaneous pain (related to the skin) includes superficial somatic structures located in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Any injury to these structures will cause pain.


Somatic pain can be superficial or deep. Superficial somatic structures involve the skin, superficial fasciae, tendon sheaths, and periosteum. Deep somatic pain comes from pathologic conditions of the periosteum and cancellous (spongy) bone, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Deep somatic structures also include deep fasciae and joint capsules. It includes

  • bone fractures.
  • strained muscles.
  • joint pain (arthritis pain)
  • connective tissue diseases (osteoporosis)
  • cancer spreading to the skin or bones.
  • skin cuts, scrapes, and burns.


Visceral sources of pain include the internal organs and the heart muscle. This source of pain includes all body organs located in the trunk or abdomen, such as those of the respiratory, digestive, urogenital, and endocrine systems, as well as the spleen, the heart, and the great vessels. For example:

  • Endometriosis
  • Bladder pain
  • Prostate pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome pain


Neuropathic or neurogenic pain source includes damage to or pathophysiologic changes of the peripheral or central nervous system (CNS). Neuropathic pain can occur as a result of injury or destruction to the peripheral nerves, pathways in the spinal cord, or neurons located in the brain. Neuropathic pain can be acute or chronic depending on the timeframe. It includes:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Headache (migraine)
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinalcord injury (incomplete)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia (Tic douloureux)
  • Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (metabolic-induced)
  • Amputation (trauma)
  • Crush injury/brachial avulsion (trauma)


Referred pain is felt in an area far from the site of the lesion but supplied by the same or adjacent neural segments. Referred pain occurs by way of shared central pathways for afferent neurons and can originate from any somatic or visceral source. For example, pain from injury to the liver or gallbladder refers pain o the neck and shoulder region.

How do Pain relief treatments work?

Prostaglandins are the enzymes or chemicals that are responsible for the production of pain and inflammation. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase which will inhibit the prostaglandins, eventually reducing the pain. Paracetamol also works in the same manner by blocking COX enzymes in the CNS.

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors on nerve cells in the CNS. They block the pain signals sent from any part of the body.

Other than pain medications, other treatments for pain relief include physical therapy and topical gels. Physical therapy includes the application of hot packs, cold packs, and TENS. TENS work by providing electrical stimulation to the involved area, these impulses inhibit the pain signals reaching the CNS. Hot packs and cold packs reduce the inflammation and swelling caused by pain or injury by stimulating the blood flow to the affected area. Cold packs provide a numbing effect to the painful area.

Types of Pain Relief treatments available

Pain relief medications include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Lidocaine patches
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Hydroxyzine, promethazine, carisoprodol, or tripelennamine(Adjuvants)
  • Antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, carbamazepine)
  • Corticosteroids (methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone)
  • NSAIDs (ibuprofen, neproxen, diclofenac sodium, aspirin, ketorolac, maloxicam)
  • Other opioids (codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl)
  • Physical Therapy (TENS, hot pack, and cold pack)
  • Tropical ointments (diclofenac sodium gel)

Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are most effective for pain relief, muscle aches, fever, chronic low back pain, arthritis, and stiffness. NSAIDs are considered the first-line treatment for pain relief. They work by reducing the synthesis of prostaglandins (which usually causes pain and inflammation). They block the pain receptors temporarily so that nerve fibers cannot carry pain signals to the brain.

Corticosteroids are also given for pain relief. They include methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and prednisone. But they can have serious side effects like weight gain, peptic ulcer disease, mood changes, trouble sleeping, and weak immune system. Antidepressants can relieve pain that is caused by nerves by changing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Physical therapy treatment for pain relief includes TENS, hot packs, and cold packs. TENS work by giving small electrical impulses to the affected area. These impulses reduce the pain signals going to the brain which will ultimately reduce the pain and relax the muscle. They are usually used for pain that is muscular in origin and spasms. Hotpack and cold packs work by relieving the inflammation and swelling that is caused by pain or injury.

Topical gels for pain relief include

  • Moov Fast Pain Relief Cream
  • Cipla Omni Gel
  • Ortho Ayurvedic Pain Relieving Ointment
  • Volini Pain Relief Gel
  • JointFlex Joint Pain Relief Cream.

 These gels are used for the joint pains and muscle aches. They are used to avoid possible side effects.

Side effects of pain relief medications

As each medication comes with its benefits it has some side effects too. Side effects of painkillers, NSAIDs, and opioids include

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Addiction
  • Stomach pain
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling cold
  • Heartburn
  • Muscle aches
  • Sleepiness

Long term use of pain relieving medication can cause severe effects on kidneys, stomach, liver, and veins. Ulcers can be developed in the stomach. When injected, it directly absorbs into the bloodstream which affects the heart so it can cause serious cardiovascular issues like heart attack and other heart diseases. Moreover, long term use of painkillers decreases the body's tendency to fight the pain naturally. It tricks the brain that only painkillers can reduce the pain. Long term use of opioids can cause the slowness of CNS causing slurred speech, slowed breathing, and slowed body actions. Addiction is another adverse effect of taking painkillers.

Best Pain relief medication online

The best pain relief medication that can be found online is Aspirin 300mg tablets, paracetamol, and Naproxen Gastro-resistant tablets (250mg and 500mg). All these medications are available at

But it is recommended that you should take pain relief medications on the doctor's prescription.

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