Pain medications are drugs used to relieve discomfort associated with disease, injury, or surgery. Because the pain process is complex, there are many types of pain drugs that provide relief by acting through a variety of physiological mechanisms.
Thus, effective medication for nerve pain will likely have a different mechanism of action than arthritis pain medication..
Virtually any disease as well as most injuries and surgical procedures involve some degree of pain.
It's not surprising, then, that pain medications, also known as analgesics, are among the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. Different medications are used depending on the type of pain.
For minor complaints, such as muscle sprains or headaches, an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever will usually do.
Prescription pain relievers, especially opiate analgesics -- are normally reserved for moderate-to-severe pain – such as that seen after surgery, trauma, or from certain diseases like cancer or rheumatoid arthritis.
Other common "painful" situations in which analgesics find use include labor, back pain, fibromyalgia, and urinary tract infections.
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