- Don't take more pain medication -- or take it more often -- than prescribed.
- Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you're not alert.
- Don't drink alcohol while you're using pain medications, especially acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen can damage your liver -- and drinking alcohol can increase this risk.
- If you're taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), don't use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) in 24 hours. Watch out for acetaminophen as an ingredient in other medications.
1 AnswerIntermountain Healthcare answeredIf you are taking pain medications, follow these instructions:
1 AnswerIntermountain Healthcare answeredPrescription pain medication not only makes you more comfortable, but it helps you heal and recover. As you heal and recover, you can take better care of your baby and yourself. Your doctor may prescribe a strong pain medication if you have had:
- a C-section (Cesarean section)
- a cut or tear in your vaginal area during childbirth
- any surgery or condition that causes severe pain
The following complementary approaches may help alleviate knee pain.
You may feel tense, stressed and anxious as you try to protect your knees from extra strain. Unfortunately, these emotions only make pain worse and tense up the muscles that support your knee. The solution? Try a few of the following mind-body techniques:
- relaxation therapies
- yoga and tai chi
Finally, here are two pill-free, hands-on methods of pain relief to try:
- Massage helps relax tense muscles and reduces lower-back pain. Ask your massage therapist for the gentlest kind of massage and to steer clear of overly tender or inflamed joints. Learn how massage therapy can block pain, ease stress and boost happiness.
- Acupuncture may ease lower-back pain and improve pain and function in arthritic knees.
Whatever complementary pain-management practices you try, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can refer you to qualified practitioners and tell you how to safely combine alternative therapies with your current treatment plan.
Here area couple of things you can buy at the drugstore that might provide relief from knee pain:
Capsaicin: You may be tempted to try oral capsaicin supplements, but save your money. They don’t affect pain. However, a rub-on capsaicin cream can soothe painful joints, such as your knees.
Glucosamine: Although more research is needed, some studies show that glucosamine supplements may improve symptoms of osteoarthritis in people with moderate to severe pain and stiffness. They may also delay the condition's progression.
1 AnswerPhysicians have long known "the body electric" is for real. Tiny electrical currents and magnetic fields are constantly firing off inside you, and a handful of scientists and medical innovators have been relentlessly pursuing how to harness these forces for healing.
They're succeeding, using magnets -- pulsating electromagnets. They produce invisible energy waves that increase blood flow and normalize certain electrical nerve impulses. One FDA-approved device, called the Torino, relieves more than 50% of post-operative pain.
How do devices that use a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) relieve post-op pain, as well as intractable back, neck, foot and arthritis pain? Your nerves, cartilage, spinal fluid, bones, muscles and blood all rely on a symphony of dancing ions. PEMFs activate these electrically charged particles in ways that seem to turn off inflammation and turn on cell repair.
PEMFs rev up production of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the targeted area. The combo stimulates an anti-inflammatory cascade that, in the Torino's case, not only halves post-op pain but also reduces swelling and speeds healing.
PEMF therapy also coaxes badly broken bones to mend that otherwise might not. When you break something, electrical "injury" currents rush through your bone, signaling instructions for knitting it back together. But in nasty breaks, that process short-circuits. To re-create the currents, surgeons implant electrodes into mangled bones. Enter PEMF mats, bandages and knee braces, which stimulate healing currents.
Aim PEMFs at damaged areas for 8 to 30 minutes, two to four times a day and you'll heal better and faster. There are no short-term side effects. The products are still too new to know whether there are long-term issues.
1 AnswerStaying active is one of the best ways to keep your joints young and healthy, but go a little easy until you have consulted your doctor. Meanwhile, here are some ways to naturally ease those achy hips:
- Lose some weight if you need to. Extra pounds put extra strain on your joints.
- Muscle up. Strength training (even just 10 minutes every other day or so) builds muscular support for your joints.
- Get a foot checkup. Flat feet can throw off your gait and hurt your hips. You may need orthotic inserts for your well-fitting, nicely-cushioned, made-for-walking shoes.
- Take omega-3s before and after walking. They act as anti-inflammatories. Experts recommend 900 mg daily of the DHA form of omega-3s, and prefer supplements made from algae, not fish oil (algae is where fish get their omega-3s).
Your very next breath might bring relief from what ails you.
Just take that breath more slowly. Seems the deep, slow breathing used in Zen meditation and other mindfulness pursuits may help diminish aches and pains -- and lift your spirits to boot!
When healthy women in a recent study were exposed to a heat source that was mildly to moderately painful, they reported feeling way less discomfort when they took slow breaths (about half their usual breathing rate) compared with when they breathed normally. They felt not only less discomfort but less stress, too. Researchers think the slow breathing somehow triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to induce calm and counter the painful feelings produced by the sympathetic nervous system.
A second group of women in the study with fibromyalgia did not appear to benefit from the slower breathing technique -- possibly due to feelings of depression that characterize the condition along with chronic pain. But the researchers think deep breathing might help that group as well if it's combined with counseling and treatment for depression.
1 AnswerNext time your bum knee acts up or your boss goes on a tear or your mate ticks you off, don't roll into a miserable ball. Take a breath, then make like your favorite Olympian winning gold, or LeBron scoring a winning basket. Try it! If arm pumping feels like a bit much, here are some subtler poses that will help you radiate confidence and push back against pain:
- Stand tall, not hunched forward, with your head lined up over your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
- When you sit, look for a chair with armrests. Plant your arms wide on them, so your chest opens up, signaling assurance to yourself and others.
- Standing or sitting, keep your hands relaxed, not clenched, clasped together or held to your chest, so they're free to make bold gestures.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are often used to treat the same kinds of pain. However, you may find one class of pain medication relieves your pain better than another.
Some common conditions for which over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers may be helpful include:
- Migraine: Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen are effective in treating mild to moderate headache pain, including migraines.
- Back Pain: Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen may be used to treat mild to moderate back pain. If your back pain is due to an injury, NSAIDs will not only relieve pain, but also inflammation.
- Cold and Flu: Treat minor aches and pains associated with colds and the flu with either NSAIDs or acetaminophen. Both types of pain reliever reduce fever as well. Be careful not to overdose on pain relievers by taking a multisymptom medication along with your usual pain medication.
- Earache: Acetaminophen or NSAIDs may be used to treat mild to moderate earache pain.
- Fever: Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen are effective fever reducers. Call your doctor if you take pain relievers to reduce fever for more than three consecutive days or if you have a high fever -- 103°F (39°C) or greater -- for more than two hours.
- Hangover: Acetaminophen is effective for treating headache pain associated with hangover. However, do not take acetaminophen if you consumed more than three alcoholic beverages, as this may put you at risk for liver damage. Also, avoid taking NSAIDs after consuming alcohol; both NSAIDs and alcohol may cause gastrointestinal irritation and this effect is augmented when you take the two together.
- Heartburn: If you experience heartburn, acetaminophen may be the better pain reliever choice because it does not cause gastrointestinal irritation the way NSAIDs can.