Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-steroidal 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.

How do NSAIDs work?

At a chemical level, NSAIDs block certain enzymes needed in the creation of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins influence only the cells immediately surrounding them, so what prostaglandins do depend upon where they are. In connective tissue such as muscle or joint lining, prostaglandins cause the cells to emit substances that cause inflammation. Prostaglandins also amplify 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 non-prescription types of NSAIDs you can buy, including the common brand names:

Millions of people rely on over-the-counter NSAIDs every day to treat neck pain, back pain and other common ailments. Your physician 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

Non-prescription NSAIDs are very safe, but like with any medication there are potential side effects. These commonly include minor upset stomach, heartburn and increased ease of bruising. More serious side effects include gastrointestinal ulcers, rashes, throat swelling and breathing impairment. In rare cases, NSAIDs can cause more serious side effects such as confusion, swelling and more.

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 state-of-the-art outpatient surgical procedures that may help you find pain relief.