Can pain-free be drug-free?


Medications aren't always the answer to pain relief. Alternate methods have been used for generations – some with success, some not. As with any treatment, you should discuss this with your doctor. Many physicians incorporate alternative therapies with traditional medicine to find the best solutions for their patients.

If the pain is stress related, like many headaches and some backaches, some people may find stress relief from:

  • relaxation techniques
  • meditation
  • massages

Other alternative therapies may also provide relief. These include:

  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • chiropractic

There is nothing wrong with needing pain relief – it shows that you care for your health and well-being. In fact, if short-term pain is left untreated, it could worsen or progress to long-term pain. Make sure you ask your health care provider for a therapy that is best suited to you.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Does twisting make you shout?


Back pain is a very common human bane. It often comes on unexpectedly and can be the result of an accident, sudden movement, or long-term stress on the spine. Once you have a back problem, there are ways that you can try to reduce repeat injuries and allow yourself to move freely again.

Back pain is especially intrusive and debilitating because of the central role the spine plays in our lives. Although we all get occasional back pains from sitting too long, for instance, acute or prolonged back pain could be a signal that there's a problem. A visit to the doctor is in order to rule out any serious difficulties.

The spine is a very complex structure, so the reasons for pain are many and varied. One major cause is degeneration of the discs. Through the wear and tear of life, the discs act as the body's shock absorber. After a while, these can compress and trigger pain. Even though the problem might seem to have started suddenly, chances are that the condition was building up, and a sudden movement may have been the final straw.

Not long ago, many doctors recommended bed rest for sore backs, but that way of thinking has changed. Bed rest may still be recommended, but only for the first 24 to 48 hours of pain – then it's time to get moving again. For an acute strain,, over-the-counter pain relievers (such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen), and heat packs are often enough to get you over the hump. Moving about may not be comfortable, but it's often the best way to heal your back if your doctor advises you to do this. Your doctor might also recommend a muscle relaxant, a medication usually used for short-term relief.

Chiropractors and physiotherapists also play a role in back health. Chiropractors use carefully applied techniques (also known as "adjustment") to physically manipulate the joints of the spine, which can help relieve back pain. Physiotherapists can teach you how to move so you can avoid pain. Both health professionals can also show you how to prevent future back injuries.

Severe back injuries may need surgery but, as with bed rest, doctors are trying to limit the number of operations being done. It seems that time is really the healer in most back injuries, and now doctors are waiting months before deciding whether or not an operation really is the best solution.

The best way to beat back pain is through prevention. Some of the following suggestions might help avoid a back injury:

  • Maintain your ideal body weight – more weight increases the stress on the spine.
  • Exercise to increase the strength of your abdominal and lower back muscles, which help support the spine.
  • Learn to lift objects safely – lift with the legs, don't bend your back.
  • Practice good posture, both standing and sitting.
  • Wear good, supportive shoes.
  • If you do a lot of heavy lifting, considering wearing a back support.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Not tonight, I've got a headache

Medication Management


Headaches are painfully common: up to 75% of all people experience at least one a year. For some, headaches come regularly (like migraines or cluster headaches), while others get them only when life gets too stressful. It can take some good detective work to find out what works for you, but with a little advice from your pharmacist or doctor, you may be able to find relief.

Over-the-counter medications

Most people reach for over-the-counter (OTC) medications when a headache hits. While this is a good solution for many, OTCs are not without their own problems. Read the package instructions carefully, and don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist or doctor questions about the ingredients and dosages.

If you take prescription medications, check to be sure that they're compatible with the OTCs. Certain medications shouldn't be mixed with others. If you have kidney or liver problems, asthma, or if you are sensitive to ASA, please check with your doctor before taking any OTC pain medications. Children under 18 years of age who have or are recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should not use products containing ASA, as it has been linked to an increased risk of Reye's syndrome.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some medications can cause rebound headaches or daily headaches if they're taken too often or for too long. If your headaches aren't relieved within a reasonable amount of time or if you seem to be taking an OTC for headache more than two times a week, check with your doctor to see if there might be another way of dealing with the pain.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of OTC pain relievers at your local pharmacy. However, there are really only a few basic ingredients you need to familiarize yourself with. The following list will help clarify your options:

  • Acetaminophen is found in preparations such as Tylenol®. The maximum daily dose of acetaminophen for adults is 4 g. This is equivalent to 8 of the extra-strength (500 mg) tablets or 12 of the regular-strength (325 mg) tablets. If you have liver disease or are on another medication that may be putting stress on the liver, the maximum daily dose is lower. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Keep in mind that many OTC products may contain acetaminophen as one of the ingredients.


  • Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) found in products like Motrin® and Advil®. Don't take these medications for more than a couple of days unless your doctor advises you to do so. To help to avoid stomach upset, take ibuprofen with food and with at least 250 mL (8 oz) of water. People who have ulcers or have a history of stomach bleeding should not take ibuprofen. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.


  • Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is more commonly known as Aspirin® or Entrophen®. It can be found in many OTC products. Due to its blood-thinning properties, ASA shouldn't be taken by people who have blood clotting disorders or who are taking medications to thin the blood, unless recommended by a doctor. ASA can also be hard on the gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines), so it's important to take it with food or milk and with at least 250 mL (8 oz) of water. Do not give products containing ASA to children and teenagers who have or are recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms.


  • Prescription medications

While OTC medications do the trick for relieving the average headache, some people are diagnosed with migraines. These aren't the average headaches, and they are caused by complex chemical changes in the brain. OTC medications sometimes help, especially if the headaches are caught early. More often, however, this disabling type of headache needs prescription medications.

Several specialized medications are available to provide relief from migraines. Because of possible side effects, however, these aren't for everyone. Talk to your doctor about which medication is appropriate for you. Migraine medications include the following:

  • Ergotamines – This group of medications include dihydroergotamine (Migranal®) and ergotamine (as part of a combination of ingredients in various products). These medications can be taken orally, by injection, as a suppository, or in a nasal spray.


  • Triptans – These medications include almotriptan, eletriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, frovatriptan, and zolmitriptan. These medications can be taken orally, by injection, or in a nasal spray.


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – These medications include ibuprofen and naproxen. Prescription-strength NSAIDS are often effective for many. These medications can be taken orally or as a suppository.

Quite often non-drug measures along with medications can help relieve a migraine headache. These include removing yourself from a noisy, brightly light room and lying down in a dark quiet room. Applying a wet face cloth or cool compress to the forehead can also help with the discomfort.

For migraine headache sufferers who experience frequent attacks, preventive medications are an option. These medications need to be taken daily. They don't work immediately and may need to be taken for at least 2 months to assess their benefit.

Don't get discouraged if the first medication you try doesn't work. There are many options available, so talk to your health care provider to see which is most appropriate for you.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

When joints go bad


It's not true that arthritis pain is a condition that goes hand-in-hand with aging. It can also affect children and young adults, severely limiting their activities. In these cases, easing the pain is an important part of being able to live life to its fullest.

The term arthritis actually refers to a group of disorders that includes rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and others. What they have in common is joint pain. While the causes of the actual pain for the different types of arthritis may be different, some of the same solutions may work.

For some people, non-medicinal approaches to fighting joint pain can also offer comfort. For example, a brace attached to the affected joint can protect it from repeated motions. Physiotherapy with active exercise can also help relieve joint pain, while lifestyle changes can eliminate joint pain for those affected by cool and damp weather (e.g., moving to a warmer climate). A healthy diet along with some types of exercise – alternated with lots of rest – can go a long way in easing discomfort and maintaining mobility.

Rheumatoid arthritis

For rheumatoid arthritis, doctors often recommend medications such as:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ASA, ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs; e.g., hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, sulfasalazine, methotrexate, tofacitinib)
  • biologics (e.g., adalimumab, rituximab, anakinra, golimumab, etanercept, infliximab)
  • corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone)

These medications can help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain and inflammation. NSAIDs and corticosteroids work to manage the symptoms and to relieve inflammation, while DMARDs and biologics reduce the signs and symptoms and help slow the progression of the disease.

As with all medications, there are side effects associated with the treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist about what side effects to watch for and what you can do to manage them. As for any medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects and what you can do to prevent or minimize them.


To treat osteoarthritis, doctors take a slightly different approach because the pain doesn't have the same cause as in rheumatoid arthritis.

Medications with anti-inflammatory effects (such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids) are used to treat osteoarthritis, but in many cases the pain can be managed with acetaminophen, which isn't an anti-inflammatory. As well, steroid injections directly into the painful joints or injections that replace the synovial fluid (fluid that lubricates and cushions the joints) might be helpful.

Exercise and weight loss can also help relieve stress on weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. In more severe cases, surgery might be necessary.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: