These days, pain relief drugs can be as easy to buy as toothpaste! With so many pain relief options available and so many brands telling you why their product is the best, it can be hard to know which drug to choose and which will be the most effective for your pain with the least side effects.
What is pain?
Put simply, when there is tissue damage in your body, your brain will receive a signal sent through nerve fibres, creating the sensation known as pain. This is your body’s way of alerting you to a problem so it can be fixed to prevent further tissue damage. Everyone experiences pain differently, making it difficult to treat. However, depending on the individual and the cause of their pain, there are a range of medications and treatments available.
A very popular way to treat pain is with pain relief drugs, which are in abundance and available over the counter and with a prescription. It is important that you know which pain relief drug is right for you and what the side effects can be.
One group of pain relief drugs is known as opioids. These depressant drugs work by slowing the messages travelling between your body and your brain. The most popular opioid in Australia is codeine, a drug mainly used to relieve mild to moderate pain. Until this month, codeine was available as an over the counter drug. However, a prescription is now needed to obtain drugs containing codeine.
Due to this change, more people are choosing alternative over the counter drug products such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although effective, they can come with unwelcome side effects such as indigestion, nausea, stomach pain and, in many cases, bleeding and stomach ulcers.
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that occur in the lining of your stomach and can lead to serious complications if left untreated. While the majority of people with stomach ulcers don’t experience symptoms, burning pain in the upper abdomen, indigestion and vomiting can be signs of a stomach ulcer. If you begin showing any of these symptoms, or you have any concerns, you should speak with your doctor. A hospital procedure known as a gastroscopy is the best way to diagnose a stomach ulcer.
Pain relief is an important aspect of your wellbeing and although the ease of buying over the counter products can be enticing, you need to have all the information before making a decision. You should talk to your doctor about which pain relief option will be most effective for you. Just remember, drugs are drugs. Whether you have a prescription or purchase them with your groceries, use caution when taking any pain relief medications. Always follow the dosage amounts and talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.