Types of NSAIDs

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are a trusted and reliable method for reducing inflammation, pain and swelling throughout the body. Specifically, NSAIDs block two forms of COX enzymes in the body (COX-1 and COX-2) that are responsible for inflammation. Therefore, NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory medications because they prevent the COX enzymes from forming inflammation in an injury or damaged area of the body.

There are two types of NSAIDs currently in use in the United States, those that inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, and those that inhibit only COX-2 enzymes. This difference is not trivial, because inhibition of the COX-1 enzyme is associated with many of the undesirable side effects of NSAIDs. The NSAIDs that inhibit only the COX-2 enzyme are currently available only by prescription. All over the counter NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.

Naproxen, a COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor

Naproxen, known by brand names such as Aleve and Naprosyn, is available in both prescription and non-prescription strength forms. If you are experiencing back pain, naproxen is often effective in reducing pain and inflammation. It works by inhibiting the inflammatory process. However, naproxen can cause blood clotting because it interferes with the platelet activity that allows the blood to clot. . It can also cause an upset stomach by interfering with the production of protective mucous. Both of these undesirable side effects are caused through COX-1 inhibition.

Ibuprofen, a COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor

Ibuprofen (Motrin) is another of the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is one of the most commonly recommended NSAIDs for individuals experiencing neck and back pain, stiffness, inflammation and tenderness. Like aspirin and naproxen, ibuprofen can cause stomach symptoms through reduction in mucous production, a COX-1 activity. This symptom can be somewhat alleviated by taking food with the medication because food substitutes for lost mucous. Ibuprofen is effective in treating pain from daily activities, muscle strains or damage to tendons and ligaments.

COX-2 inhibitors

Celebrex (Celecoxib), Vioxx (Rofecoxib), Bextra (Valdecoxib), Arcoxia (Etoricoxib), Prexige (Lumiracoxib) and Dynastat (Parecoxib) are Cox-2 type NSAIDs. Only Celebrex is currently approved for use in the United States. Like other NSAIDs, Celebrex reduces inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory process in connective tissue. However, unlike other NSAIDs, it does not cause the same type of stomach-related side effects, nor does it cause significant blood thinning.There are many studies being done on this type of NSAID relating to cardiovascular side effects.

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You should always speak with your physician before taking any new medications.

However, if anti-inflammatory medicines like NSAIDs have failed to satisfactorily reduce the pain you are experiencing, contact Laser Spine Institute. We perform minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat problems related to facet disease, a disc protrusion, bone spurs, arthritis of the spine and many other degenerative spine conditions. Our outpatient procedures eliminate hospital-associated costs and help patients get back to their lives faster.

Contact us today and one of our Spine Care Consultants will be glad to give you information about our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that may help you address the cause of your symptoms and help you find pain relief.