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Medication for Pain

Medications can block pain, prevent swelling, and treat related problems. More than one medication may be used. Medications may be changed as you feel better, or if they cause side effects.


What They Do

Possible Side Effects

Analgesics (non-opioid and NSAID)

Remove feelings of pain. Used for mild to moderate pain. May prevent joint and soft tissue inflammation.

Nausea, stomach pain, ulcers, indigestion, diarrhea, bleeding, kidney or liver problems.


A type of analgesic. Remove feelings of pain. Used for moderate to severe pain.

Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, slowed breathing.

Other Medications (steroids, antiemetics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants)

Reduce swelling, burning or tingling pain. Limit certain side effects of pain medications.

Your health care provider will explain the possible side effects of these medications.


Stop pain signals from reaching the brain. They block all feeling in the treated area.

Nausea, low blood pressure, fever, slowed breathing, fainting, seizures, heart attack.

When to Call the Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider right away (or have a family member call) if you have:

  • Unrelieved pain

  • Side effects, including constipation or uncontrolled nausea, that interfere with daily activities

  • Extreme sleepiness or breathing problems

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.