Inflammation And Pain: NSAIDs And Other Treatments

Chronic inflammation and pain are two unwelcome guests that can wreak havoc on our bodies, interfering with our daily routines and causing discomfort. Fortunately, there are several treatments available that can help manage these symptoms. 

In this article, we’ll explore the effectiveness of NSAIDs and other treatments for inflammation and pain. We’ll also discuss lifestyle changes to help alleviate these symptoms. So, let’s dive in and find the relief we need!

Over-the-counter (OTC) Medication For Inflammation

OTC medicines are those that you can take without a doctor’s prescription. There are several OTC medicines allowed to be taken for inflammation. The prominent examples of these are NSAIDs and Acetaminophen.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

One common treatment for inflammation and pain is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are a class of drugs that work by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which produces prostaglandins. 

Prostaglandins are chemicals that contribute to inflammation, pain, and fever. By blocking the production of prostaglandins, NSAIDs can reduce inflammation, pain, and fever.

Commonly available over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. These drugs effectively reduce pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, and headache. 

However, they can also cause side effects such as stomach ulcers, gastric complications, and kidney damage. They also increase the risk of heart attack or stroke when used at high doses or for long periods.

  • Acetaminophen 

Also known as Tylenol, acetaminophen is a pain reliever that does not have anti-inflammatory properties. However, it can still effectively reduce mild to moderate pain and fever caused by inflammation. 

The possible side effects include anemia, liver damage, kidney damage, and rashes.

  • Topical Medicines

Apply topical creams and gels directly to the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain. Examples include diclofenac gel or salicylate cream.

Prescription Medications For Inflammation

If the inflammation is severe or chronic, and OTC meds are ineffective, a physician may prescribe prescription anti-inflammatories. These are some of the prescription medicines commonly used for inflammation.

  • Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are a class of medications used to treat inflammation. They work by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Corticosteroids can be administered orally, topically, or by injection.

Doctors often prescribe them for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis and inflammatory conditions such as asthma and dermatitis.

Corticosteroids have significant side effects, including weight gain, increased blood pressure, and decreased bone density. It is essential only to take corticosteroids under a healthcare provider’s guidance and follow their instructions closely.

  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

Another class of prescription anti-inflammatory medicines is disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They treat autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory conditions by suppressing the immune system. 

DMARDs are often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus. Unlike other anti-inflammatory medications, DMARDs can slow down or halt the progression of the disease rather than just treat the symptoms. However, they can have significant side effects and require careful monitoring by a healthcare provider.

  • Prescription NSAIDs

Prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat moderate to severe inflammation, such as that caused by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. They are generally stronger and more effective than over-the-counter versions.

However, they have more significant side effects, such as stomach ulcers and increased heart attack or stroke risk. You should only use prescription NSAIDs under the guidance of a healthcare provider for the shortest possible duration and lowest dose.

Other Treatments For Inflammation

Several inflammation treatments do not involve medication, including lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, and natural remedies.

  • Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management techniques can help reduce inflammation.

  • Exercise decreases inflammation in the body by releasing anti-inflammatory molecules.
  • An anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can reduce inflammation and support overall health.
  • Stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can lower inflammation by reducing stress hormones.

  • Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care may also be beneficial in reducing inflammation. These therapies aim to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation, which can subdue inflammation and pain.

  • Natural Remedies

Natural remedies such as the best turmeric supplement, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

  • Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Ginger can reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis.  
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, also treat inflammation in the body.

Bottom Line!

There is a myriad of treatment options for inflammation, both with and without medicines. While meds have a profound effect, you can also fight off inflammation with alternative therapies, lifestyle modifications, and remedies. However, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider before taking on any treatment. 


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