Pain management

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Deep heat pain management

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Pain management FAQs
Being in pain can cause a lot of distress and negatively impact your life. Normally, pain can be managed at home with painkillers and other treatments. If you are in pain, it is important to discuss your options with your pharmacist so that they can tailor your care to your specific needs. Below are some of the frequently asked questions our pharmacists get from people experiencing pain.
How can I treat pain with medicine?

You can treat pain with different types of medication, commonly called painkillers.

There are different types of painkillers but the two you may often hear about are paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Paracetamol is a pain medication used to treat mild and moderate pain, such as headaches. It can also be used to treat a fever experienced during cold and flu.

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that can come in many different forms, such as tablets, creams, gels and sprays.

You can buy paracetamol and ibuprofen over the counter at a pharmacy or supermarket.

For more severe pain, you may need to get a prescription from your GP for stronger pain relief medication.

Can I take paracetamol and ibuprofen at the same time?

You can take paracetamol with other pain medication only if the other medication does not contain paracetamol.

Medication that can be taken with paracetamol includes:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Codeine.
  • Taking too much paracetamol can be hazardous to your health and lead to a medical emergency.

    What are the side effects of paracetamol?

    In general, you will not get any side effects from taking paracetamol. In rare cases, some people may experience a severe allergic reaction. If you have a severe allergic reaction, you may have:

  • A swollen tongue, mouth and throat
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Blue, grey or pale skin
  • Feelings of confusion, dizziness or lack of consciousness.
  • Babies who have a severe reaction to paracetamol may go floppy and unresponsive.

    What are the side effects of ibuprofen?

    You may experience side effects after taking ibuprofen. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Indigestion and wind
  • Feeling dizzy and having a headache.
  • Serious side effects which need medical attention include:

  • Black stools
  • Blood in your vomit
  • Swollen ankles
  • Not being able to urinate
  • Blood in your urine.
  • If you have any of these reactions, call 111 or your GP immediately.

    Where can I report new side effects?

    If you experience a side effect from a painkiller that is not included in the patient information leaflet within the packet of your pain medication, you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency Yellow Card.

    How can I treat pain without medicine?

    It may seem unlikely at times, but pain can be combatted by doing gentle exercise such as going for a walk or yoga. Moving your body can help prevent you from feeling stiff and your muscles and bones from becoming weak.

    If you introduce a small amount of activity into your daily routine, you will find it easier to get going again once your pain subsides.

    A non-medical way to treat pain is to apply heat or ice to the affected area. Heat treatment can be used to manage joint stiffness and muscle spasms. Ice treatment can be used to reduce swelling.

    How can I combat period pain?

    Mild period pain can be managed with paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can also try a hot water bottle on your abdomen or going for a gentle walk. More severe period pain may indicate an underlying condition such as endometriosis. In this case, you may wish to speak to your doctor for more advice.

    How can I combat sinus pain?

    Sinus pain can cause a lot of discomfort. It usually goes away by itself but if it is taking a long time to go or you are feeling unwell, there are some things you can try to ease your symptoms. You should make sure you get plenty of rest and keep hydrated. As well, you can try taking over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

    How do I treat a headache?

    For headaches, it is important that you stay hydrated. You can also treat a mild headache with paracetamol or ibuprofen. For more severe headaches or migraines, you may also find rest helpful. If your headache isn’t going away or you have a headache for more than 3 days, call your GP or 111.