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Pharmacologic Pain Management

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. Most NSAIDs are taken orally and can be obtained over-the-counter. Other types or sub-types of NSAIDS require 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 more information and to determine if NSAIDs are the best form of treatment for your pain.

Over-the-counter NSAIDS
Naproxen Sodium
Aspirin, Acetaminophen & Caffeine (i.e. Excedrin®)

Over-the-counter NSAIDS
Cox II Inhibitors (i.e. Celebrex®)

NSAIDs block 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 inhibition decreases the production of prostaglandins and thus decreases pain and swelling. Some patients may find pain relief from NSAID therapy, which works especially well for muscular and joint pain.

Most people who use NSAIDs tolerate this medication well; however, some people may potentially experience gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, 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, discuss with your pain management physician about any other medical problems you may have, especially angina, coronary artery disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney, or stomach problems. Additionally, you need to inform your pain physicians about your other medications. In doing so, such information can help us provide a safe and effective treatment program, and make a big difference in helping you regain control of your life.