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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Strong Pain Relief Medications: Options & Safety

An elderly man is holding his fingers in discomfort.

Strong pain relief medications are an essential part of managing chronic or occasional pain. The two commonly used strong pain medications are opioids and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Opioids function by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which prevents the perception of pain. On the other hand, NSAIDs have the ability to decrease inflammation and reduce pain. However, both types of drugs come with their own range of side effects and can be addictive.

Chronic pain can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily activities. Over-the-counter pain relievers may not provide sufficient relief for individuals suffering from severe or persistent pain. Therefore, stronger medications, such as opioids and NSAIDs, are necessary. These medications specifically target and alleviate pain at its source, providing long-lasting relief. This article will provide an overview of strong pain medications and the associated risks.

An Overview of Strong Pain Relief Medications

Strong pain relief medications can treat moderate to severe pain. These medications can be divided into two main categories: narcotics and non-narcotics. Narcotics, such as morphine, oxycodone, and codeine, belong to the opioid class. Non-narcotics comprise NSAIDs and acetaminophen. These medications effectively alleviate pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.

Narcotic medications provide the strongest type of relief available, effectively reducing severe pain. These medications prove particularly valuable in the treatment of chronic conditions such as cancer and arthritis. Narcotics can be highly effective, but they also carry a risk of addiction and other side effects. Therefore, these medications should be used only when other medications are unable to provide adequate relief.

On the other hand, non-narcotic medications offer an important array of options for managing pain without relying on opioids. These medications include a variety of drugs that are effective in addressing mild to moderate pain. One common type is NSAIDs, which people can take orally or applied topically.

What Do They Treat?

  • Severe post-surgical pain, providing relief after major surgeries.
  • Alleviate chronic back pain caused by conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
  • Intense pain associated with kidney stones, helping to manage the discomfort during the passage.
  • Severe migraines, reduce the intensity and duration of the headaches.
  • Manage pain caused by cancer, helping patients to cope with the physical discomfort.
  • Provide relief for individuals with fibromyalgia, easing the widespread muscle pain and tenderness.
  • Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, help to reduce joint pain and inflammation.
  • Manage the pain associated with endometriosis, providing relief for women with this condition.


A woman is holding her head and neck in pain.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for Strong Pain Relief

NSAIDs are a class of strong pain relief medications. Individuals often use them for various painful conditions, like arthritis, muscle strains, sprains, and other injuries. NSAIDs block enzymes that create natural hormones called prostaglandins. By stopping these enzymes, NSAIDs reduce inflammation and lessen pain.

Moreover, NSAIDs come in different forms, like oral tablets, topical creams and injectable solutions. People often use them to relieve pain because they work well and are easy to use. Unlike opioids, NSAIDs have fewer side effects and are not as addictive or prone to misuse. Additionally, they are available for purchase without a prescription without a prescription as over-the-counter drugs.

Additionally, the different forms of NSAIDs allow for flexibility in treatment. People can take an oral tablet or apply a topical cream depending on the location and severity of their pain. NSAIDs also tend to be less expensive than other forms of pain relief, such as opioid medications. However, NSAIDs are only suitable for short-term use and are not ideal for chronic treatment.

Common Side Effects & Risks of NSAIDs

NSAIDs are a type of pain relief medication for treating pain caused by inflammation. Although they can be effective, there are common side effects and risks with their use. These include feelings of nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, headache, and rashes.

Apart from the mentioned side effects, NSAIDs can also pose long-term risks. These risks encompass stomach ulcers and bleeding, kidney or liver damage, and even an increased risk of heart attack. Moreover, people with asthma may experience worsened symptoms when taking NSAIDs. Therefore, it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these medications with a doctor.


A man holding his ankle in a state of discomfort.

Opioid Drugs for Strong Pain Relief

Opioid drugs are the most powerful form of pain relief available. They are frequently prescribed for severe pain, such as after surgery or a serious injury. Opioids function by attaching to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which prevents pain signals from reaching the brain. Moreover, they produce a feeling of euphoria, giving users a sense of pleasure.

These strong pain relief medications can be taken orally, applied topically, injected intravenously or administered as a patch. Doctors may prescribe oral or topical opioids for mild to moderate pain. However, stronger opioids like morphine or oxycodone are typically given for more intense pain. Sometimes, a combination of an opioid and another medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can offer better pain relief.

Despite being effective, the use of opioids carries significant risks. These include the possibility of addiction and misuse, as well as the danger of respiratory depression. Additionally, opioids can interfere with mental clarity, impair motor coordination and cause other serious side effects. Therefore, people should only take opioid medicines upon a doctor’s prescription.

Common Side Effects & Risks of Opioids

Opioids can provide powerful relief from severe and chronic pain. However, the use of these medications comes with certain risks and side effects. These include feelings of nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, and agitation. Additionally, these opioids can impair a person’s ability to think clearly and concentrate.

Long-term use of opioids may increase the risk of physical dependence and addiction. Moreover, opioids can slow down breathing and can cause a potentially fatal overdose in certain circumstances. Furthermore, mixing opioids with alcohol or other drugs can be dangerous and may lead to serious health complications. Therefore, opioids should be taken only when prescribed by a doctor.


Strong pain relief medications, including narcotics and non-narcotics, play a vital role in managing moderate to severe pain. Narcotics offer powerful pain relief but come with the risk of addiction. Non-narcotics, such as NSAIDs, provide effective alternatives for milder pain. These medications can treat a wide range of conditions, including post-surgical pain, chronic pain, migraines, cancer-related pain, and more. However, people should follow the recommended dosage and seek guidance from medical professionals for safe and appropriate pain management.

Opioids and NSAIDs are commonly used as strong pain medications. Opioids, such as morphine and oxycodone, are drugs that interact with the brain’s opioid receptors to decrease pain signals. On the other hand, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin function by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme present in the body. This process helps reduce chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. Both types of medication can have serious side effects and should be used with caution, particularly with opioids.

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