Painkillers are medicine that reduce or relieve pain when taken. They can be taken for headaches, muscle pain, back pain, toothache, arthritis, etc. Some people take pain relievers temporarily to handle acute pain, while others can be prescribed the drugs long-term for chronic pain management. There are many different types of painkillers.
Overview of the main types of painkillers
There are two ways to legally get painkillers: over the counter (OTC) or with a prescription. All of them carry a risk of abuse and eventual addiction if not used exactly as indicated. Here is a brief overview of the prominent pain relievers available.
Aspirin is an OTC medicine used to relieve pain, reduce fever, and reduce inflammation. It is also sometimes used preventively for chest pains, strokes, and heart attacks. When used in this manner, it should be under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Acetaminophen (the active ingredient found in Tylenol), also known as paracetamol, is a drug used to treat mild to moderate pain such as headaches, toothaches, back pains, etc. It can also be used to reduce a person's fever or treat severe pain. This medicine can be bought over the counter. It is also found in combination with other compounds in some prescription drugs.
Ibuprofen is a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug used to reduce fever or treat pain/inflammation due to headaches, back pain, menstrual cramps, or minor injuries. This drug is the main ingredient found in Advil and Motrin medication.
Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory drug that works by reducing the hormones that cause inflammation and pain. It is used for conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and menstrual cramps to reduce pain, swelling, or joint stiffness.
Opioids are a type of painkillers derived from the opium plant. There are natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic opioid pain relievers. They all interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and b