Health & Wellness

Pain Reliever


Not Feeling Well? Don’t let choosing a pain reliever cause you more pain.

Ah, unfortunately t’is the season of aches and pains. Maybe you’re one of the legions here in Charleston suffering from cold or flu. Perhaps you’ve overdone it on your New Year’s “get fit” routine and that last set of lunges pulled more muscles than it tightened. Or that headache you can’t quite shake (thanks to January’s full throttle agenda and residual holiday fatigue) is getting you down.

When you’re ailing, the last thing you want is further headache over which over-the-counter medicine to take. And contrary to what many think, there are differences between aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. To help you reach for the right one, here’s a quick guide to taking the pain out of choosing pain relievers.

First, the NSAIDS – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are the most commonly known NSAIDS. These over-the-counter medicines are effective at reducing the level of chemicals called prostaglandins that are associated with inflammation. Pain that results from injury and/or swelling is best treated with NSAIDS.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Pandadol, Actamin) works a bit differently. Instead of tackling the inflammation, it blocks pain messages in the brain and influences the areas of the brain that help reduce fever.

Both NSAIDS and acetaminophen can help reduce fever.

Want to learn more? Roper St. Francis family medicine physician Dr. Travis Wilkes with Mt. Pleasant Family Practice gives you a helpful dose of Pain Reliever 101 in this short House Calls TV segment.

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