This post will discuss some of the most popular pain medications used, particularly for heel and foot pain relief.
OTC Pain Relief
The majority of foot and heel pain issues are addressed with Over the Counter (OTC) medication instead of prescription strength. There are two general classes of over the counter pain relievers available. These are the Acetaminophens and the Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Both are used regularly for foot issues, but they work in different ways.
Tylenol and Aspirin-Free Excedrin are examples of acetaminophens. These are good for relieving muscle aches and stiffness as well as fever reduction. They work by affecting the part of the brain that receives and processes pain signals from nerve endings. They do not relieve inflammation. The NSAIDs, however, are good at both relieving inflammation AND providing relief for sore muscles. They provide pain relief by limiting the production of a hormone that causes pain, known as prostaglandins. Some common over the counter NSAIDs include Ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve. Physicians often recommend prescription strength NSAIDs as well.
It is important not to take more OTC pain medication than the label clearly specifies. Also, only a physician should advise if it is permissable to combine the two types of OTC pain relievers, or if they can be taken in addition to a prescribed medication. Too much acetaminophen can cause health problems, although this is rare. More than six 500 mg tablets daily is considered excessive, and has been linked to liver damage. Acetaminophen should not be used if you have liver or kidney disease. It should not be used if you have more than three alcoholic drinks per day also. NSAIDs sometimes can cause an upset stomach and can raise the blood pressure.
There are also several topical OTC pain relievers available that can be helpful. Examples of these include Ben-Gay, Icy Hot, and Aspercreme. These are useful for muscle pain relief and some arthritic pain relief.
Follow this link for a good selection of OTC pain relievers.
Prescription Pain Relief
Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that are usually injected into an area of musculoskeletal injuries. They can also be prescribed in pill form as well. Some examples include Deltasone and Hydeltrasol. They can have some side effects, including mood alterations, immune system weakening, headaches, stomach aches, and weight gain. Because of the potential for significant side effects, they are prescribed in the lowest possible dose for the shortest length of time as is reasonable to relieve the pain. These drugs have other applications as well, including treatment of allergies, asthma, and arthritis.
Opioids are another powerful prescribed medication for pain relief. They contain natural or synthetic opiates for very acute pain, such as for post surgical procedures. Some examples of opioids include oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl. These drugs work by modifying the pain messages coming into the brain from receptors. Some of the common side effects of these drugs include nausea, constipation, itching, and drowsiness. Another big problem with these is the possibility of addiction, so treatments using these drugs are very closely monitored. The dosage can be raised as tolerance to them develops.
Muscle relaxants are another class of prescription pain relievers. They work on tense muscle groups through sedative action in the central nervous system. These are more frequently used for the large muscles of the back and shoulders than for the feet. They are used sometimes for sciatica nerve problems that can extend down to the ankle and feet. Some examples of muscle relaxants include Soma, Flexeril, and Robaxin. There are several side effects to these drugs, including drowsiness, dry mouth, addiction, and urinary problems.
Of course, a physician must be consulted about any prescription drug usage, and about the use of OTC drugs in conjunction with other medication.
– Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net/Keerati