NSAIDs are an effective choice for managing pain due to a wide range of conditions. These medications not only alleviate pain but also inflammation, which is known to contribute to pain in many situations. There are several NSAIDs available over-the-counter; ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common ones. There are also more potent NSAIDs that your doctor can prescribe, such as celecoxib. Regardless of which NSAIDs you use, though, there are a few tips you should follow for safe and effective pain management.
Pay attention to the dosage maximum.
Check the back of the bottle of your NSAID pain reliever to see what the maximum recommended dose within 24 hours is. For ibuprofen, for example, you're usually instructed not to take more than 800 mg within 24 hours. Make sure you are adhering to those dosage limits. (It's easy to go over if you take the medication all day at the maximum frequency recommended.) Taking more medication than is recommended within a 24 hour period increases your risk of side effects such as stomach irritation and liver damage.
If your pain is not being effectively managed with the maximum daily dose, then you need to check in with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to prescribe a more effective NSAID. For example, if you're currently taking ibuprofen, they may prescribe celecoxib.
Take the medication before the pain gets too bad.
Sometimes patients feel some pain and then figure if it gets any worse, then they'll take a dose of their NSAID. However, the worse the pain is when you take the dose, the less relief you're likely to get. The medication will be more effective if you take it as soon as you start to notice the pain creeping in. At this stage, the inflammation is usually still minimal, and taking the medication can stop the inflammation in its tracks before it starts making your pain worse.
Take the medication with food and water.
When you only take NSAIDs every once in a while, you can take them with minimal food and water with little worry. However, when you're using NSAIDs regularly for ongoing pain management, you need to take the medications with food and water in order to prevent the digestive system distress and stomach damage that these medications can cause. Taking the medication with water will also help it be effective in its relief of inflammation.
If you follow the tips above, you should see better results when using NSAIDs for pain management. Reach out to your doctor or a pharmacist for more advice about pain management.