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Pain and Debilitating Conditions

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are considered the most common pain relief and pain control medications. As part of a pharmacologic pain management plan, NSAIDs may be used for acute or breakthrough pain, and chronic pain, such as back or knee pain lasting for more than a few months. Most NSAIDs are taken orally and can be obtained over-the-counter or by a prescription from pain management physicians. Below are some popular over-the-counter and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Contact our pain management physicians for a longer list and to determine if NSAIDs are the best form of treatment for your pain.

Over-the-counter NSAIDS Prescription NSAIDS
Aspirin Oxaprozin
Ibuprofen Indomethacin
Ketoprofen Etodolac
Naproxen Sodium Nabumetone
Aspirin, Acetaminophen & Caffeine (i.e. Excedrin®) Cox II Inhibitors (i.e. Celebrex®)

NSAIDs work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, which is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. More specifically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs effectively block the effect of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase that is critical in your body’s production of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation. This enzyme interference decreases the production of prostaglandins and thus decreases pain and swelling. Some patients may find pain relief from NSAID therapy, where the dose and schedule is measured and the response to the regimen is assessed over a prolonged amount of time.

Most people who use NSAIDs do not have any serious complications; however, some people may experience gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and allergic reactions. Less severe side effects can include stomach pain and heartburn, or headaches and dizziness. Before you start taking NSAID medications or begin an NSAID therapy, talk to your pain management physician and let him or her know about any other medical problems you have, especially hypertension, asthma, kidney, or stomach problems. Additionally, let him or her know of other medications you may be taking. Their goal is to provide safe and effective pain management treatment, and in doing so, such information can make a big difference in helping you find relief and regain control.