Best Pain Killer. Pain Reliever Ratings
Friday, January 30th, 2009 at
Best Pain Killer?
What is the best thing you can do for headaches, back ache pain relief, muscle pains and other discomforts? If getting away from your boss, spouse and kids doesn’t help, you might have to do something really drastic. I’m talking about good old-fashioned, over-the-counter drugs. That’s right, pain reducers. Common painkillers come in different forms, work in different ways and each present different side effects and dangers. I’ve had enough aches and pains over the years to know that different non-aspirin painkillers treat my body in different ways. Each of them present their own dangers and side effects, depending on a number of personal health factors, as well as lifestyle. I’ve left aspirin brands out of this review because it’s been years since I’ve used it due to the way it irritates my stomach. While none of these other pain relievers hurt my stomach quite so bad, they are not without their problems too. The goal of this review is to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the three most popular brands of non-aspirin painkillers: Tylenol, Advil and Aleve. How do these painkillers stack up against each other for headaches, muscle aches, back pain, fevers and other common, literal or non-literal pains in the rear?
As I remember it, Tylenol became a popular alternative to aspirin sometime in the 1970′s. Tylenol’s active ingredient is acetaminophen which was actually sold as an over-the-counter drug for children since 1955. The problem with aspirin is that its continuous-use could give just about anyone – even those with a cast-iron gut, a severe stomach ache. Also, some concerns arose in the medical community over an association with aspirin-use and a disease called, Reye’s Syndrome
. As a result, Tylenol became the preferred pain and fever reducer for adults as well as children. It is somewhat ironic that Tylenol is known as the ‘safe’ alternative to aspirin. An overdose of Tylenol can be deadly because of the way it is digested in your liver. There are warnings on the back of Tylenol bottles not to take this medication with frequent alcohol use as that can really put a strain on your liver. Because I like to have a couple of drinks everyday, I try to avoid Tylenol as much as possible. On the other hand, when taken only as needed, I’ve always found that Tylenol does a pretty good job with headaches and minor aches and pains. If I am really sick with a fever, feeling lousy, all-over-body aches and chills, Tylenol seems to be the only thing that actually makes me feel better. For really bad headaches, back ache pain, arthritic, and other muscle pains, I have found anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve and Advil to be more effective.
Until Advil was brought to the OTC public in 1984, Ibuprofen was a prescription-only medication
for reducing inflammation, pains, back aches and muscle aches. Advil comes in 200MG tablets and instructions on the back of bottle recommend taking 1-2 tablets for headaches, back ache pain relief and other minor pains and inflammation. While taking 1-Advil is almost tolerable for my stomach, anything more than that, makes me feel like I ingested 5 or 6 jalapenos and washed it down with a bottle of sriracha sauce. Of all the pain reducers reviewed here, Advil gets rid of my headache faster than any of them. The downside is that the headache seems to return after 3-5 hours. For moderate injuries and inflammation, it usually isn’t until the 3rd or 4th dose that it begins to work. By that time, my stomach is protesting so badly, that any of its other good intentions are lost by the side effects. Ibuprofen, they say, isn’t as dangerous or toxic to the liver as Tylenol, but as my own stomach aches suggest, it can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Also, long-term use can be associated with renal kidney failure. Obviously ibuprofen makes up for what it doesn’t to your liver by taking it out on your kidneys instead. I’ve found Advil to be moderately helpful for reducing fevers, aches and chills, but not nearly as good as Tylenol.
Naproxen is the active ingredient in Aleve and became an over-the-counter drug in the mid-1990′s. One of its advantages is that 1-tablet works for 8-12 hours. When I first tried Aleve for a bad headache, I was left wondering for about 90 minutes whether or not it was really going to ever work. Once it finally worked, the headache was gone for good. Since then, I’ve continued to use Aleve for headaches because once it works, it’s permanent, and the amount of stomach upset is very minimal, if at all. The key to getting rid of a headache with Aleve is to catch it and treat it early, so those 90 minutes don’t feel like 90 hours. Aleve is probably the worst of the group for treating the flu-like symptoms of fever, aches and chills. Part of the reason for this is that it does take a while to work, and you can only repeat your dosage every 8-12 hours. I try to avoid taking too much of any drug as much as possible, so if I’m having a miserable fever, I’ll take Tylenol every 4-5 hours and eliminate the alcohol. Both Ibuprofen and Naproxen, are classified as non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs which means they are good for muscle aches, pains, injuries and inflammation. They can also be used for arthritic conditions such as gout. However, I will say from my own recent experience with gout, that the normal recommended dosage did me no good whatsoever. The prescription dosage for serious pain is 3-4 times the recommendation on the OTC bottle, and I’m just not comfortable taking 3-4 Aleve tablets, Advil or Tylenol capsules. Despite the good experience I’ve had with Aleve, not everyone’s tummy is quite so grateful. I know of a few people that won’t take it because it gives them a burning, painful gut. Like Ibuprofen, long term side effects of Naproxen can be stomach ulcer and kidney failure. You might wonder why feeling comfortable and pain-free has to be at such odds with a healthy stomach, kidneys and liver. I wonder the same thing. So, what can we do, except to take these drugs only when needed and at the minimum dosage necessary for them to help us get through the aches and pains associated with living? It sure beats the alternative.
Tylenol, Advil or Aleve
I use Aleve more than the other two drugs because it does the best job on my headaches without doing a job on my stomach. That’s not to say others might not have their own preference of what works best for them. At most, I suffer 1-2 headaches a week, so it’s not like I’m keeping the Aleve stockholders wealthy. I’m a big believer in avoiding both prescription and non-prescription drugs as much as possible. See what other consumers have to say about Pain Relief products, then choose what’s right for you.
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Tagged with: Advil • Aleve • Pain Relievers • Painkillers • Tylenol
Filed under: Health & Fitness
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