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.
Kosharskyy 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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