When suffering from an orthopaedic injury, medication can be beneficial and assist in healing. All too often our initial reaction is to not want to take medications, but when it comes to healing an injury, time is needed for recovery to happen. Here we highlight different types of pain medications that your orthopaedic doctor may prescribe, and explain their importance and some common names.
Narcotic Pain Relievers
This is a controlled substance that helps you no longer feel the pain. It ‘deadens’ the pain experience by stopping the signals of pain to the brain, lessening the feeling of pain. It is recommended that narcotic medicines are used for severe cases and not recommended with pain is minor. They should be used only for short time periods and can cause drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and if taken improperly could lead to addiction. Some examples of narcotic medications include Lortab, Darvocet, Percocet, Ultram, Vicodin and Tylenol with codeine.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication (NSAIDs)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly used pain medication. They are used to decrease inflammation, joint pain, headaches, swelling and stiffness. They work by reducing the inflammatory chemicals that are being produced at the source of an injury. They are best used on a continuous basis and can have some side effects like kidney damage, gastrointestinal problems and allergic reactions. Some examples of anti-inflammatory medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.
When you are experiencing muscle spasms from common injuries, muscle relaxants can help reduce the spasms and allow for healing. Some side effects can include drowsiness and dizziness. Some examples of muscle relaxants include Flexeril, Skelaxin, Zanalfex (Tizanidine), Robaxin, Valium and Soma.
As with any medication, talk to you doctor about what medications are best for you and your specific situation. Always be sure to let them know what medications you are currently taking to ensure there are no reactions.