Pain medications, or analgesics, aim to provide relief to those experiencing uncomfortable or distracting pain that interferes with their function and quality of life. They provide relief by reducing the nervous system’s perception of pain, alleviating everything from chronic to acute pain and allowing patients to function better in their daily lives.

Types of Pain Medication

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

A popular over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication, NSAIDs reduce the underlying causes of pain, such as inflammation, swelling and stiffness. They are especially beneficial for treating mild to moderate pain stemming from musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis or post-operative discomfort.

Examples of NSAIDs include:

  •        Ibuprofen
  •        Naproxen
  •        Aspirin

While NSAIDs should be taken regularly for maximum effectiveness, long-term or excessive use can lead to gastrointestinal issues and an increased chance of developing ulcers and bleeding. They also shouldn’t be used if you’re pregnant, as they can increase the risk ofbirth defects.


Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants help ease muscle spasms and tension by blocking nerve impulses, which can help patients suffering from muscle strains, sprains or fibromyalgia. Patients on muscle relaxants can experience excess drowsiness and dependency, so it’s important to exercise caution when taking them.

Common muscle relaxants include:

  •        Cyclobenzaprine
  •        Baclofen
  •        Metaxalone
  •        Tizanidine
  •        Diazepam


Narcotic Pain Relievers (Opioids)

Narcotic pain relievers, or opioids, temper your brain’s opioid receptors to weaken the perception of pain, which can be especially useful for those dealing with chronic pain from cancer or severe injuries. However, it’s essential that opioids are used short-term for severe pain management only, as their benefits come hand-in-hand with substantial risks, including the potential for addiction and overdosing.

Examples of opioids include:

  •        Hydrocodone
  •        Propoxyphene
  •        Oxycodone


Non-Narcotic Pain Relievers

Non-narcotic pain relievers provide potent pain relief with fewer side effects than opioids. While NSAIDs are a popular type of non-narcotic pain reliever, there are other options that don’t contain aspirin and are considered safer for pain sufferers with gastrointestinal issues. Even non-aspirin, non-narcotic pain relievers, like Tylenol, can still be dangerous in excessively high doses and can potentially cause liver damage. It’s important to never exceed recommended dosage and to consult with your doctor before taking them.

Popular types of non-narcotic pain relievers include:

  •        Acetaminophen
  •        Neurontin
  •        Lyrica
  •        Cymbalta
  •        Elavil


Pain Medication Benefits and Risks


  • Pain Management: By providing effective pain relief, pain medication can allow patients to function better and live more comfortably.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Because pain medication can give relief to those living with chronic pain or recovering from injuries or surgeries, it can make functioning day-to-day more tolerable.
  • Facilitates Physical Therapy: Pain medication can give patients the durability they need to participate in physical therapy and rehabilitation programs.
  • Enhanced Sleep: Reduced pain can help patients rest better by enabling healthier sleep patterns.



  • Addiction and Dependency: Opioid medications can be addictive and carry the risk of patients becoming dependent on them.
  • Side Effects: All pain medications have potential side effects, including nausea, dizziness, constipation or drowsiness.
  • Overdose and Respiratory Depression: If taken without cation or in an excessively large dose, patients can potentially overdose on opioids.
  • Liver and Kidney Damage: Using acetaminophen or NSAIDs in high doses or for a prolonged period of time can cause liver or kidney damage.


Integrating Pain Medication into Your Orthopedic Treatment Plan

  1. An orthopedic specialist will design a care plan specific to the patient’s condition or injury, the severity of their pain, medical history and any underlying health concerns.
  2. Each care plan will involve a combination of pain medications, physical therapy, rest and other complementary treatments.
  3. They will weigh the potential benefits against the risks before prescribing you anything.
  4. Routine follow-up appointments are essential to promptly address any side effects and ensure the pain medication remains effective.
  5. Patients will receive a thorough education regarding their pain medication, including proper usage and possible side effects to keep them safe and healthy while treating their pain.


Receive a Targeted Plan of Attack for Your Orthopaedic Pain From Experts

At Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, P.C., our experienced physicians will provide a personalized, comprehensive care plan that optimizes your pain relief and minimizes risks. Whether used independently or in addition to other treatment options, we’ll ensure that any pain medication you take is safe, beneficial and effective. Schedule an appointment with us today and learn more about how we can help by calling 770.421.1420 orvisiting us online.