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March 16, 2017 06:17 PM

Healthbeat: Picking The Right Medication For Your Pain

When you have a headache versus when you have lower back pain, how do you know which over-the-counter pain medication to take? You might take the same thing for both types of pain, not realizing that one medication may not be the best remedy for your specific pain.

John Jay makes a living by working on roofs; he has since he was 16. While he loves the work, it's taken a toll on his body.

"A bad arm from shoulder to muscle, a trick knee, a bad back, lower back muscles," Jay said.

Jay says the worst of the pain comes from his arm, making working along with everyday tasks difficult. So he keeps two pain medications in his medicine cabinet to take after a long day of work.

"Over-the-counter medications like Excedrin or Tylenol. A heating pad, not very often but I try it just to see if it works," Jay said.

In fact, taking two different over the counter pain relievers is recommended by Lewis Drug Chief Pharmacist Kyle Heer as long as you use them 4 to 6 hours apart as recommended.

"Sometimes when you get the muscle aches and pains that option is actually really good to use," Heer said.

He says most people think all pain medications do the same thing; therefore, they buy one type for all of their aches and pains. To get the best results he says know the difference between the two main types of over-the-counter pain medication and a third option for pain.

"You have Tylenol or acetaminophen then you have NSAID's, which includes Motrin, Tylenol or Aleve. I guess your third option would be a variety of menthols that use camphor menthol," Heer said

Heer says most often times he recommends Ibuprofen. He says Ibuprofen is also best for things like fever, sore muscles, arthritis and toothaches. Heer says just like any medication, take it with caution.

"Also considered a safe medication but it does need to be taken with food and used with caution with patients who have ulcers or anything like that," Heer said

He said topicals like Bio Freeze and Bengay are often overlooked but are great ways to ease joint and muscle pain.
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