Over the Counter Pain Management Options

Over the Counter Pain Management Options from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Sports injuries can be not only an annoyance but debilitating.  The pain can make it impossible to not only play sports but to continue your daily lifestyle activities.  Luckily, over the counter pain medications can help curb the pain and get you back on your feet.  Here are the most popular pain medications that can be found at your local pharmacy without a prescription.


This pain medication, also commonly bought as Tylenol, is used often for headaches, backaches, and as a way to bring down fevers.  When acetaminophen is ingested it inhibits your body from transmitting pain signals. 

Acetaminophen will not change any inflammation or swelling that is causing the pain.  Instead, it will just prevent your body from feeling hurt.  Because of this, acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for pregnant women and those who have other conditions in which anti-inflammatories are damaging. 

Acetaminophen is a great choice for those who have a sensitive stomach.  If taken correctly, it should not bother your gastrointestinal tract. 

It is very important to read the dosage information for acetaminophen.  There is a fine line between taking too much and not enough.  Too much acetaminophen can damage your liver.

Some other more common side effects of acetaminophen are nausea, itching, rash, or a headache.  If you notice any symptoms such as serious rash, itching, dizziness, or shortness of breath discontinue use immediately and contact a medical professional. 


Ibuprofen is often purchased under the brand name Advil.  It is a widely used pain reliever.  It is different the acetaminophen because it is an anti-inflammatory or NSAID.  It reduces pain by reducing inflammation and reducing swelling.  It can also reduce fevers. 

One common side effect of Ibuprofen is stomach upset.  Be sure to administer ibuprofen in the correct dosage or serious stomach damage can occur.  In extreme cases, ibuprofen can cause bleeding in the stomach, poor kidney function, and high blood pressure.

It is recommended that you take ibuprofen with food or at least a glass of milk to a help prevent stomach upset.

Many doctors do not encourage taking NSAIDs if you train or perform in high endurance sports.  Sometimes the anti-inflammatory can actually mask problems or injuries until it is too late. 

Naproxen sodium

Naproxen sodium is often used for arthritis and severe headaches.  It is also an anti-inflammatory or NSAID.  It is an effective anti-inflammatory because it blocks your body from making certain things that cause inflammation and swelling. 

Naproxen sodium is a very popular main management tool for those suffering from all types of arthritis.  It is important to remember that while naproxen sodium can help with the pain associated with arthritis it will in no way cure arthritis.

Like Ibuprofen it is important to strictly follow the dosage recommendations of Naproxen sodium.  It can cause stomach upset and serious stomach issues such as ulcers or stomach bleeding.

Naproxen sodium should be taken at the first sign of pain by mouth every 8 hours.  It is recommended that you take this pill standing up and do not lie down for several minutes.  It is also recommended that you take this pill with food or milk or even an antacid.


Aspirin is an older pain relief product that is used to treat pain that is usually mild.  Aspirin can be a good choice for headaches, the common cold, and muscle aches.  It is another example of an anti-inflammatory or NSAID.

Aspirin should never be used in children or young adults under the age of 20 without consulting a doctor.  It has been found that giving children aspirin when they have certain viral conditions can lead to a serious disease called Reye’s syndrome.  Reye’s syndrome can cause brain damage and liver problems.  It can also cause seizures and may even be fatal. 

Recently, aspirin has been used by doctors as a preventative for stroke and heart attacks.  This is because it naturally prevents blood clots.  It can even be used as a blood thinner in some cases. 

Like all the other NSAIDs it is important to take aspirin very carefully.  It can lead to major stomach upset if you do not follow the correct dosing requirements.  Make sure you take aspirin with a glass of milk, a small meal, or even an antacid if needed. 

Also, never crush aspirin pills.  It is usually given in a time release capsule and when they are crushed or even split you can be given too much in a short time. 

Over the Counter Pain Patch

Recently, many pharmaceutical companies have introduced over the counter pain patches.  These pain patches can revolutionize the over the counter pain management industry. While pain patches will not cure any disease, they are an effective short-term band-aid for those suffering from pain and the best over the counter anti inflammatory.

Pain patches are also great for those who have chronic pain.  They allow those patients who suffer to get some relief without having to turn to more serious prescription pain drugs.  They also allow your body to rest and recuperate for a time before the pain returns. 

Pain patches are also a great way to relieve pain for those who suffer from side effects from pain medication.  All of the above pain medications can cause side effects that can be very serious.

As always, it is very important to discuss your pain management needs with a trained medical professional.  You should talk to your doctor about the potential side effects or drug interactions that may occur when taking these over the counter medications.  

Also, when you go to the drug store you can feel confident that the pain relief will be the same whether or not you buy brand name or generic.  Generic brands must meet the exact same standards as their brand-name counterparts.

With all of these medications, it is essential to read the instructions and take the proper dosage.  All of these medications can lead to other problems if not taken correctly. It is also recommended to never take these over the counter pain medications for longer than 10 days unless consulting with your doctor.

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