A pain reliever is a type of medicine that aims to reduce or relieve pain from headaches, arthritis, sore muscles, and other causes of aches and pains. There are different types of pain relievers, and some work better for specific causes of pain compared to other medications.
Some pain relievers are available over the counter, and they help with many types of general pain. Examples of OTC pain relievers include:
In cases where OTC pain relievers do not help, a doctor may prescribe a prescription pain reliever. Additionally, many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) are available at a higher dose in prescription format.
The most potent pain relievers are opioids, yet this high effectiveness can come with serious side effects and a potential risk of addiction.
Why are pain relievers important in healthcare?
Pain relievers can help ease pain from a variety of conditions, including:
- back strains and sprains
- muscle pain
- broken bones
- arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis
- menstrual cramps
- flu, colds, and ear infections
- surgeries and minor procedures
This makes pain relievers a valuable tool in improving quality of life as patients recover or manage certain health conditions.
However, certain pain relievers, such as opioids, can also be addictive, so it is crucial for doctors to closely monitor their use to prevent further problems from developing.