Aches and pains Happens to all of us, and when it does, you want relief fast. Still, not all pain relievers are created equal – there are risks and benefits for everyone. That’s why we contacted Tessa SpencerPharmD, a functional medicine specialist, to find out which pain relief product she recommends. She breaks down the benefits of her top pick and shares ideas for what to take if your doctor has ruled this option out. Read on to find out the number one painkiller that Spencer recommends over the rest.
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When it comes to pain relief, there are many products to choose from.
If you have I have a headache, muscle aches, arthritis or other body aches, you may decide that a pain reliever is right for you. But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find the one that meets your needs.
In particular, there are two main groups of over-the-counter pain relievers: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, Aleve, Advil, etc., and acetaminophen, which includes Tylenol, Excedrin and others. “Both acetaminophen and NSAIDs reduce fever and relieve pain caused by muscle aches and stiffness, but only NSAIDs can reduce inflammation (swelling and irritation),” says the American Academy of Family Physicians.
In the event that an over-the-counter medication does not work for your pain, your doctor may suggest a prescription pain reliever. Although many prescription options are considered very effective, they can sometimes lead to serious side effects or addiction and should always be taken under the watchful eye of a healthcare professional.
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It’s the number one painkiller Spencer recommends.
The pain reliever Spencer recommends most often is an over-the-counter NSAID: ibuprofen. She adds that liquid gel capsules are the perfect vehicle for this medication, as they “help reduce the time it takes to start working.” Advil Liqui-Gels is one of the best-selling drugs of this type.
Spencer says this product has earned her trust because “it has been around for a long time and the mechanism of action is fantastic for treating both muscle and joint pain, as well as swelling and headaches.” However, she notes that you should always take ibuprofen with food “because it can be harsh on the stomach lining and may cause stomach upset or irritation if taken on an empty stomach.”
Take this alternative if you have certain underlying conditions.
Because every medication decision is patient-specific, Spencer notes that some people may need an alternative to ibuprofen. “Choosing the ‘right’ painkiller depends on the characteristics and preferences of the patient. For example, if someone has a history of chronic kidney disease or taking blood-thinning medications, they should not take ibuprofen,” she cautions.
Instead, she recommends naproxen (commonly known as Aleve) for patients who have a history of heart disease or chronic kidney disease, as well as for patients who need longer-term pain relief. “It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter pain reliever,” especially if you have a history of chronic illness, Spencer says.
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This supplement can offer natural pain relief.
Finally, Spencer adds that there are natural ways to relieve pain, which can be useful instead of or in addition to a over the counter analgesic.
“If someone wants to go for a more ‘natural’ pain reliever, turmeric with a pinch of black pepper might be a good option,” she says, noting the anti-inflammatory benefits of the combination. “However, you need to make sure you buy a product that is a standardized, 95% pure extract to ensure that what’s in the turmeric capsule is actually pure turmeric,” Spencer advises.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not intended to replace professional advice. Regarding any medications you are taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your health care provider directly.
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