Dr. Boleslav Kosharskyy, a New York-based pain management specialist, encourages everyone to keep multiple forms of pain relief in their medicine cabinets. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the obvious must-haves — this category of medications includes ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin (Excedrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often grouped into that category as well, but it’s not actually an NSAID.

14 doctor-recommended OTC medications you should always have on handKosharskyy also recommends keeping diclofenac gel (1%) and lidocaine patches (4%) on-hand for topical pain relief when the pain site is intense. Diclofenac gel is a topical NSAID often used for arthritis pain, but can also be used for strains, sprains and other localized pain.

This product was prescription-only until recently, but you’ll soon be able to buy it at drugstores under the brand name Voltaren.

Lidocaine is a numbing agent that works by blocking nerve signals that cause pain. You can find OTC lidocaine patches up to 4% in most drugstores, usually under multiple brand names — IcyHot is one well-known brand. Use these for localized pain, such as lower back pain or sore muscles, Kosharskyy says.

Prefer to avoid pain medications? Try these eight drug-free products for chronic pain relief, learn if you should add CBD oil to your pain-relief regimen or find out how a Theragun can literally knock the pain right out of your body.

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