Everything You Need To Know

Over-the-counter pain medicine can help alleviate pain or lessen a fever before seeing a doctor. You can get these medicines from licensed chemists or pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. There are two types of OTC pain medicine, which are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac gel. 

over the counter medicineYou can use either type of OTC pain medicine for headaches, soreness in the muscles, and arthritis, among other types of pains. But each type of medicine has its advantages and risks. If OTC pain medication fails to relieve your pain, it is advisable to visit the doctor who will prescribe stronger pain relievers, such as opioids. However, strong pain relievers can lead to addiction and should only be taken under a doctor’s directive and management.

How Much Over the Counter Pain Medicine Is Okay To Use?

While everyone reacts differently to medication, there are some basics to guide you in knowing how much OTC pain relievers are too much or unsafe. According to MedlinePlus, an adult should not exceed 3 grams (6 extra strong or 9 regular pills) of acetaminophen within 24 hours. Take these pain killers, leaving 4 hours between doses.

Both types of pain relievers are not safe for use if you have a history of or suffer from liver cirrhosis, heart diseases or high blood pressure, gastrointestinal upsets, or kidney disease. Any amount of OTC pain medication could be fatal to your body. It is advisable to consult your doctor before taking these medicines.

Avoid using OTC pain relievers frequently or for pain that lasts for more than a couple of days. OTC pain medication is also not good for use with frequent pain since you might be suffering from something else. Using OTC pain drugs under these circumstances can lead to using “too much” of them.

When Does Pain Mean Seeing a Pain Management Specialist?

When OTC pain medicine does not work, it is advisable to visit a pain management specialist. Constant extreme pain could mean that you have arthritis or an old surgery area has been disturbed. Chronic pain makes a pain specialist your next step. It is also time to visit a specialist if you have prolonged pain in your limbs, spine, joints, nerves and abdominal or pelvic area.

You should also see a pain specialist or doctor if:

  • Your pain lasts for more than three days
  • You are unable to function without OTC pain medicine
  • Excruciating or abnormal pain
  • Lower doses don’t relieve your pain anymore.

What Types of Pain Can Be Treated at Home vs. By a Specialist?

You can treat basic pains such as headaches, joint pains, sore throat pain, toothache, fever, pain from a cold or flu, sinusitis, back pain, and the pain one feels after undergoing surgery at home. But chronic pains, especially in crucial body parts such as the spine, should be treated by a pain specialist or a pain management doctor in a health facility.

Contact the specialists at Commonwealth Spine & Pain for all your pain management needs.