There are many forms of pain relief, but which method to use depends on the type of pain. Medication is the most common method of treating pain. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be bought over the counter and are usually the first step in relieving pain. This is because over the counter painkillers are weaker and are used to treat mild pain, whereas prescription pain relief is usually used to treat chronic, long term pain.
Pain relief medication can treat pain such as headaches, muscle pain, stomach ache, swelling and inflammation, and more chronic conditions such as arthritic pain and neuropathic pain. There are different levels of pain and the type of reliever that is prescribed is determined on a case by case basis. Some individual cases may need to use multiple pain relievers in conjunction with each other to gain effective relief which will all be determined and supervised by a GP.
Pain relief is available in tablet form, liquid medicine, and topical treatments such as creams, lotions and sprays. Pain relief may also be given intravenously, this method is usually given in hospital for severe pain.
You can visit a pharmacist or chemist for pain relief depending on the severity of your pain. If you’re in severe pain you will need to see a GP who can provide stronger painkillers.
Below are some common pain relief medicines. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-medical methods may be more suitable. If you would like to learn more about these options, then please click here. Before receiving medication you must answer a number of questions to asses your suitability. All questions are reviewed by a GMC registered doctor before a final decision is made. All medication is dispensed via a full regulated and registered UK pharmacy.
Dr. Diana Gall
Our Health Care Team
"Pain is caused by a number of reasons whether it’s through injury or a long term health condition. The way people manage pain and how severe they feel it varies from person to person, and it may take trying a number of methods before you find the best relief. Finding pain relief that works can really improve a patient’s quality of life. For long term, chronic pain medication may be required, however, this needs to be monitored to avoid over-reliance on drugs. There are also alternative, non-medical products that are proven to reduce pain."
Pain relief for mild pain
The way a person feels pain and how severe it is varies from person to person. However, generally mild pain is associated with problems such as headaches and back pain that isn’t chronic. The type of medications used to treat mild pain include:
Paracetamol is a common medication used to treat mild, moderate and severe pain as it comes in many different strengths and dosages. Large dosages should be taken under doctor supervision as liver damage can be caused as a result of taking too much paracetamol. Although paracetamol can be taken by both adults and children, the dosage will be different. Many medications contain paracetamol so you should check the ingredients of any other medication that you are taking before you take paracetamol.
What are anti-inflammatory drugs?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) relieve pain that is associated with inflammation such as mild back pain by reducing inflammation and temperature. They work by decreasing the activity of the enzyme, Cyclooxygenase, and by blocking this enzyme the creation of prostaglandins is also reduced to relieve pain and inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory medication can also treat the symptoms of headaches, period pain, colds and flu, arthritis and sprains. Over the counter NSAIDS that are used to treat mild to moderate pain include:
NSAIDs work best when the pain is directly associated with inflammation such as in injury or arthritis.
Pain relief for severe pain
Moderate to severe pain can be treated with drugs known as opioids. Opioids are prescribed because of their high strength and addictive nature. Many people can become highly addicted to opiods if they’re not taken under the supervision of a doctor as the dosage needs to be controlled. If your pain is not responding to regular over the counter medication you may need to be prescribed stronger medication such as opioids. Examples of opioids include:
What are opioids and how do they work?
Opioids cover a broad range of drugs and the above are some of the more well known opioids that can treat chronic pain caused by surgery, injury or illness. Opioids treat pain by attaching receptors in the brain to block pain messages being sent from the body to the brain through the spinal cord.
At Doctor-4-U we provide strong, prescription-only painkillers such as:
- Codeine phosphate
- Diclofenac sodium
Our online doctors will need to determine your suitability for prescription painkillers as there are some health conditions and medications which may interact with these painkillers and affect how they work, or they may cause side effects or worsen certain health conditions.
Strong pain relief should be monitored to ensure the dosage is correct and that you are not experiencing side effects which is why it is classed as prescription medication.
Pain relief for nerve pain
Nerve pain/damage, otherwise known as neuropathy can be a chronic and debilitating condition which is caused by damage or injury to the nerves. Many health conditions can cause damage or sensitivity to the nerves such as shingles, diabetes, sciatica, and some types of cancer. Damage to the nerves not only causes pain, it can also affect your ability to sense temperature and control your muscles. There are three types of nerves in the body including sensory nerves which allow you to touch and feel pain and other sensations. Motor nerves control the movements of muscles and autonomic nerves regulate automatic functions of the body including blood pressure, digestion and heart rate.
People with peripheral nerve damage for example, which affects the hands, feet and arms, may not be able to feel boiling hot water which is highly dangerous and could lead to further physical injury. Nerve pain can range from mild to chronic and like any type of pain, the way it is managed depends on the severity. For mild nerve pain over the counter medication such as ibuprofen and aspirin are suitable, however, chronic nerve pain may need something stronger. Antiepileptic drugs and antidepressants are prescribed for chronic nerve pain.
While antiepileptic drugs are usually prescribed to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy, they respond well to chronic nerve pain such as peripheral neuropathy. Gabapentin and pregabalin are antiepileptics that can also be prescribed to patients with nerve damage to reduce the severity of the pain by interfering with pain signals. Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and duloxetine are also used to treat nerve pain. Amitriptyline increases serotonin in the brain which seems to have an affect on the severity of pain, and duloxetine enhances nerve signals in the central nervous system to obstruct pain.
Non-medical pain relief
Pain can also be managed with non-medical methods either in combination with medication particularly if the pain is chronic, or alone if medication is not suitable for you due to side effects or interaction with other medication. Non-medical pain relief is available in the form of:
- TENS machine which interrupt pain signals being sent to the brain
- Ergonomic supports
- Exercise and therapies
- Temperature therapy
- Natural methods such as magnesium oil and CBD oil
People with long term pain will should speak to a GP to find a way to manage symptoms and reduce pain either with medication, drug-free products or both. Once you have discovered methods that work for you, you can buy both medical and non-medical pain relief online at Doctor-4-U