Best Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

30-Second Blog “Snapshot:”

  • There are different kinds of OTC pain relievers that address different pain problems.
  • OTC pain medication falls into two categories: acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Below are examples of what medications to take for what pains.

The pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center provide extraordinary pain care and the absolute best in in-office interventional medicine. However, there are times where over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines are needed to provide relief in-between appointments. If you’re experiencing pain and need treatment before your next appointment, check out some of the OTC pain relievers featured below.


Reduces fever and alleviates pain by targeting parts of the brain that receive and control pain and body temperature. Acetaminophen goes by the brand name Tylenol. Acetaminophen should be considered for those with headaches, muscle aches and stiffness. Other conditions that may benefit from acetaminophen are:

  • Menstrual periods
  • Toothaches
  • Earaches
  • Backaches
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cold/Flu aches and pains


Reduces the level of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) in your body to reduce pain and fever. NSAIDs can include the following medications: aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen (Aleve). Excedrin Extra Strength, Excedrin Migraine and Vanquish contain both acetaminophen and aspirin. NSAIDs can help alleviate pain and break a fever like acetaminophen, but NSAIDs have an added benefit: they reduce inflammation. The following conditions/ailments may benefit most from NSAIDs:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Menstrual periods
  • Cold/Flu aches and pains

Although OTC pain relievers may not work as well as prescription medications, they can still provide some level of relief. These may help keep your pain under control until you can see the leaders in Utah pain management, Derek Frieden, M.D., Jon Obray, M.D., Rick Obray, M.D., Brian Richardson, M.D., or Alan Hillstead M.D.

If chronic pain is impacting your life, don't wait to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With five locations in Utah and growing, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to! To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

©Southwest Spine and Pain Center, 2015

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