Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)—such as Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen)—and prescription—such as Celebrex (Celecoxib)—are short-term options to help reduce pain and inflammation. One NSAID is not necessarily better than another in regard to pain relief and finding one that works for you may require trialing several different types.

Prolonged use of over the counter NSAIDs are not without risks and side effects, and should be discussed with your provider. Side effects can include stomach bleeds, liver and kidney damage, and increased risk of cardiovascular events.


An over-the-counter pain reliever that is used to treat pain, arthritis, headaches, and fever. It is generally well-tolerated, but side-effects may include nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. Rarely, even serious side-effects can occur, such as liver damage and severe allergic reactions.

Muscle Relaxants

A class of medications that may be suggested for short-term use to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and spasms. Common prescriptions include cyclobenzaprine and methocarbamol.

Muscle relaxants are generally well-tolerated, but side-effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, headache, nausea, and nervousness. They should not be used in the setting of acute heart conditions such as arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, and heart failure. Tell your doctor if you also use a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline.


A class of medications that may be suggested to stabilize membranes of irritated or damaged nerves, thereby reducing pain. They are used for conditions such as diabetic neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia, but they also may be suggested for other conditions that cause burning, lancinating, or electric-type pain.

Common prescriptions include gabapentin, pregabalin, lamotrigine, carbamazapine, clonazepam, and topiramate. Side-effects may include drowsiness, lightheadedness, imbalance, and swelling in the limbs, depression.

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