Pain Killers VS Anti-Inflammatory

Pain Killers VS Anti-Inflammatory

Understanding drugs is a lesson everyone should learn

How different drugs and medications effect the body

Recent media reports have suggested that everyday over the counter medications such as Panadol and Nurofen can have negative and lasting effects on the body. Often what you read in the newspaper or on social media is far from the truth; in this case however the majority of what is being said is worth being aware of.

Often people who suffer chronic pain will turn to pain killers as a form of relief, but usually do so without the advice of a health professional. This is highly risky and can lead to addiction

Understanding how pain killers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications affect your body is the first step in making an assured decision on what is and isn’t right for you.

Pain killers

  • Panadol
  • Codeine
  • Panadeine

When a part of your body is injured nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs interfere with these messages and essentially block the pain. Normal pain killers are ideal for moderate to severe pain. The benefits are plain to see – Debilitating headaches, toothaches or chronic pain can leave people unable to function in their day to day lives, taking a simple over the counter pill will typically get you back on track, relieving the individual of pain and discomfort.

When used occasionally and as advised, painkillers are generally safe, on the flipside there are negative effects all should be aware of.

People with the following conditions may be at greater risk of developing adverse effects

  • Asthma
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Gout
  • Liver problems

Adverse effects can include but are not limited to illness, general feeling of being unwell and unusual symptoms.

Side effects

  • Liver damage
  • Stomach pain and ulcers
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Kidney function
  • Constipation

Panadol when in doubt is always the safest pain killer to reach for and carries the least risk. Panadeine can lead to some of the side effects seen above and should only be used when advised by a health professional. Codeine also carries a fair share of risk, notoriously being the most addictive of the three. Like Panadeine it should be used only used once advised by a health professional.


  • Nurofen
  • Voltaren
  • Celebrex

Anti-inflammatory medications have two main functions – Block pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Characteristically anti-inflammatory drugs are great for tendon problems and general back and neck pain.

Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, or chemicals believed to be associated with pain and inflammation.

NSAIDs are used to treat many sport related injuries such as strains, sprains and tendonitis. Reducing swelling and inflammation can provide short term relief to athletes during and after competition. It is however not recommended that NSAIDs be used for an extended period as blocking pain messages and reducing swelling can do further damage to the muscle, tendon or ligament.

Anti-inflammatory drug risks

  • Gastrointestinal issues and ulcers
  • Kidney damage
  • Skin rash
  • Stroke and heart attack in extreme cases and when predisposing factors are taken into account

It is important to note that when taken correctly both pain killers and Anti-inflammatory drugs are safe.

The question everyone should ask their health professional is; can my current state of health accommodate this medication?

Northern Spinal & Sports Injury Clinic adopts a team approach to healthcare. Liaising with a range of medical professionals to come up with a treatment plan and wherever possible avoiding the over usage of pain killers. Focusing on musculoskeletal healthcare is a safe, natural and highly beneficial way to treat and manage injuries.

For more information on different medications, or to book an appointment contact us on (03) 9470 1010.

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