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Entertainment & Lifestyle News!
Entertainment & Lifestyle News!

Don’t Pick the Wrong Pain Medication and Land in the Hospital!

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Huffington Post reported:

Just about anyone who has ever had a headache or some knee pain has probably wondered: “How can I make this go away?”

Over-the-counter pain relievers are a pretty popular choice. In any given week, about 20 percent of the American population will use an OTC painkiller, according to a report from the American College of Preventive Medicine. And when asked to reflect over the last year, 87 percent of women and 80 percent of men say they have used such a medication.

OTC pain meds fall into two major categories: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. Both are non-opioid analgesics, meaning they reduce pain but aren’t part of the family of drugs known as opioids. Opioids, powerful substances such as morphine, oxycodone and codeine, are classified as narcotics and require a prescription.

While we feel pain local to an injury or site of a particular ache, it’s important to remember that pain is essentially an electrical signal sent to the brain. Acetaminophen seems to lessen the intensity of pain signals in the areas of the brain that process them. But in addition to these electrical messages, our bodies also create physical symptoms. Inflammation — pain, swelling, redness — is caused by prostaglandins, a ground of hormone-like substances, which NSAIDs can help control.

Both have their risks: Taking too much acetaminophen has been linked to liver problems, while taking too much of an NSAID has been linked to stomach problems and ulcers.

Different types of pain respond better to different types of painkillers, and because both are highly individual, what works best for someone else may not work best for you. As a general rule, you should not take a pain reliever if you already take any other products containing pain-relieving ingredients without consulting a medical professional. Do not take a pain reliever that contains any ingredients you know you are allergic to. And of course, discuss your personal medical history with a doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicine, especially if you take any other medications.

While we feel pain local to an injury or site of a particular ache, it’s important to remember that pain is essentially an electrical signal sent to the brain. Acetaminophen seems to lessen the intensity of pain signals in the areas of the brain that process them. But in addition to these electrical messages, our bodies also create physical symptoms. Inflammation — pain, swelling, redness — is caused by prostaglandins, a ground of hormone-like substances, which NSAIDs can help control.

Both have their risks: Taking too much acetaminophen has been linked to liver problems, while taking too much of an NSAID has been linked to stomach problems and ulcers.

Different types of pain respond better to different types of painkillers, and because both are highly individual, what works best for someone else may not work best for you. As a general rule, you should not take a pain reliever if you already take any other products containing pain-relieving ingredients without consulting a medical professional. Do not take a pain reliever that contains any ingredients you know you are allergic to. And of course, discuss your personal medical history with a doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicine, especially if you take any other medications.

But to give you a better sense of what’s behind the various boxes and bottles on your drugstore shelf, here are some of the basic differences (and, frankly, similarities) between some of the most popular OTC pain meds on the market.

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