Overview of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used by millions of people around the world as pain-relieving medications. These drugs are used to treat the pain from arthritis, headaches, sprains and other common discomforts, as well as, reduce fever and swelling. To learn more about the function of this anti-inflammatory medication as well as the risks associated with it, read the following article.

How do NSAIDs work?

At a chemical level, NSAIDs block certain enzymes needed in the creation of prostaglandins (powerful hormones that have a variety of functions). Prostaglandins influence only the cells immediately surrounding them, so the function of prostaglandins depend upon where they are. In connective tissue such as muscle or joint lining, prostaglandins cause the cells to produce substances that cause inflammation. Prostaglandins also magnify the signals generated by nerves in the area of inflammation, giving increased sensitivity to nerve endings found there.

Here are a few examples of the typical nonprescription types of NSAIDs that you can buy, including the common brand names:

Millions of people rely on over-the-counter NSAIDs every day to treat neck and back pain as well as other common ailments. Your doctor may prescribe other, more potent NSAIDs, however, there are risks involved with any medication taken. The more potent the medication is, the greater the risk.

Risk factors of NSAIDs

Nonprescription NSAIDs are very safe, but like any medication, there are potential side effects. These commonly include minor upset stomach, heartburn and increased ease of bruising. More serious side effects include reduced kidney function, heart failure, ulcers, throat swelling and breathing impairment. In rare cases, NSAIDs can cause side effects such as confusion, rashes and swelling.

NSAIDs work well in easing pain and aspirin has even been shown to help prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes. However, if you experience neck or back pain caused by a spinal condition such as bone spurs, sciatica, a bulging disc, foraminal stenosis or any of a variety of other degenerative spine conditions and NSAIDs simply are not helping relieve your pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We offer a variety of outpatient surgical procedures that may help you find pain relief. By using a small incision that is muscle sparing, our highly skilled surgeons are able to provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our team and ask for a free MRI review.*