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Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs for Pain Relief

If you just want to know what are the best products NSAID’s here is the list:

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The other day, I was having lunch with a couple of friends of mine, and the subject of pain relief, such as painful joints, painful back, and, in my case, painful knees came up.

My two friends mentioned that they were using a couple of drugs, which are generally known as NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While true that not all joint pain is due to arthritis, a significant amount is.

Here is what the CDC, or the US Government Agency Center for Disease Control has to say about this: “Between 2013 and 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly 23 percent of Americans had a diagnosable joint disorder. Though most of these can be classified as arthritis, that category is broad. There are over 100 different varieties of arthritis. Still, a large percentage of those cases fall into two main categories and if you experience joint pain, yours could too.”

To learn more about the most popular brand name and generic pain relief NSAIDs, click here or scroll down for the reviews.

What are NSAID Drugs?

NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. One of the leading causes of pain is inflammation. Steroidal drugs, such as cortisone or prednisone, are steroids, which also reduce inflammation.

NSAIDs work differently from steroids. They are called COX (Cyclo-Oxygenase enzymes) blockers. They reduce another chemical in the body, prostaglandins. This results in a reduction of symptoms such as pain, inflammation, and fever.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) are a group of medicines that relieve pain and fever and reduce inflammation. There are nearly two dozen different NSAIDs available, but they all work in the same way, and that is by blocking a specific group of enzymes called cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, often abbreviated to COX enzymes.

What are the Benefits of NSAIDs?

Pain is an unfortunate aspect of life. It can come at any age and from a variety of causes, such as illness or injury. In seeking relief from pain, people often use some type of medicine.

Two common medicines for pain relief are opioids and steroids, and both can lead to significant problems. Opioids are highly addictive. There is a serious crisis from the use of opioids, such as Oxycontin, which we hear about in the news almost daily.

Steroids are not addictive, but they can have significant side effects, such as the thinning of tissues. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, especially those sold ‘over the counter’ without a prescription, are readily available, not expensive, and they do work. They have a long list of benefits.

When an individual is feeling pain or experiencing inflammation in a particular region of the body, OTC medication is often adequate for providing pain relief. NSAIDs are accessible at department stores and drugstores, over the counter.  OTC, or over the counter, means that they don’t need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Common Side Effects of NSAIDs

NSAIDs are enormously popular drugs that can relieve pain. However, they can have annoying or even serious side effects. The most common side effect is stomach irritation.

However, if you take them over a more extended time, more severe symptoms can be experienced, including a tendency to bleed more easily, ringing in the ears, headaches, an increase in blood pressure, kidney and liver problems, heart attack, and stroke.

One friend told me that he took Ibuprofen, one of the most common NSAIDs for three days, and his blood pressure then jumped to 180/100! He knew something was wrong because he started feeling dizzy.

Fortunately, he has a home blood pressure monitor and caught it. For that reason, it might be better to use more natural alternatives if possible.

Anyway, the fact is that NSAIDs are very popular and effective if used properly.

However, go here for a more detailed discussion of the side effects of long term NSAID use.

Reviewed: The Top NSAIDs for Arthritis Pain

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Arthritis, and specifically Osteoarthritis (oa) is perhaps the most common source of knee, back, and joint pain, especially as people get into their 50s and beyond. Let’s take a look at the top brands of NSAIDs, to see what thousands of buyers chose, and why.

We chose the top pills, capsules, or tablets. (Other methods of pain relief are also possible of course). Click here to learn about those.


Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets, 500 Count

Amazon Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Body Aches, Headache, Arthritis Relief and More, 500 Count
72,362 Reviews
Amazon Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Body Aches, Headache, Arthritis Relief and More, 500 Count
  • ACTIVE INGREDIENT: This product contains ibuprofen 200 mg, a pain reliever and fever reducer (NSAID); compare to the active ingredient in Advil Ibuprofen Tablets
  • PAIN RELIEVER AND FEVER REDUCER: Proven pain relief without a prescription for tough pain such as muscular aches, minor arthritis pain, toothache, backache, menstrual cramps or minor aches and pains from the common cold; also temporarily reduces fever
  • STRONG RELIEF: Amazon Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg are strong on tough pain to help you get the relief you need to keep going; no prescription needed for this pain reliever and fever reducer
  • EFFECTIVE: When pain tries to take over, turn to the proven pain relief of coated Amazon Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg; use for adults and children 12 years and over
  • IBUPROFEN is the number one doctor recommended back pain OTC active ingredient (of U.S. physicians surveyed by an independent market research firm)

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is one of the best sellers in this category. These tablets have the same ingredient as Advil, and according to their information, these coated tablets are good for headaches, muscle aches, minor arthritis pain, toothache, backache, and menstrual cramps. It can also temporarily reduce fever and help with symptoms associated with the common cold.

It also ranks as the #1 Ibuprofen product.

One of the value-added benefits of the product is that the listing has some excellent general information about what causes pain and what to do about it. So, go to the listing just for the information it provides.

It also provides extensive warnings about possible adverse reactions, so be sure to read that, as well.


Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets, 300 Count

Amazon Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Caplets 220 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer (NSAID), Muscular Aches, Backache, Headache, Toothache, Minor Arthritis Pain Relief and More, 300 Count
30,925 Reviews
Amazon Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Caplets 220 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer (NSAID), Muscular Aches, Backache, Headache, Toothache, Minor Arthritis Pain Relief and More, 300 Count
  • ACTIVE INGREDIENT: This pain reliever and fever reducer contains naproxen sodium 220 mg, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); compare to the active ingredient in Aleve Caplets
  • STRENGTH TO LAST 12 HOURS: Pain reliever and fever reduction for up to 12 hours so you can get through the day
  • ACHES AND PAINS: Temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to minor pain of arthritis, muscular aches, backache, menstrual cramps, headache, toothache and the common cold; also temporarily reduces fever
  • ALL DAY RELIEF: Amazon Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets 220 mg is a pain reliever and fever reducer for adults and children age 12 years and over
  • CAPSULE-SHAPED TABLETS: This 12 hour pain reliever and fever reducer comes in a capsule-shaped tablet; this product is gluten free

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Basic Care Naproxen is a very strong contender in the NSAID pain relief space. It sells over 7000 bottles a month. The active ingredient in this Naproxen compares with the active ingredient in Aleve. It provides temporary relief of minor arthritis pain, muscle aches and pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, backache, and toothache pains. The pain relief can last for up to 12 hours.

It also has extensive supplemental information about pain relief and cautions about its use. If you are looking for an alternative to Ibuprofen, then this might be what you are looking for. You can choose from a number of different size options, including a 24 count, 100 count, 160 count, 200 count, 225 count, and 300 count.


Aleve Liquid Gels with Naproxen Sodium, 220mg (NSAID) Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, 120 Count

Aleve Liquid Capsules, Naproxen Sodium Capsules 220 mg (NSAID), Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Fast Pain Relief, 120 Count
5,698 Reviews
Aleve Liquid Capsules, Naproxen Sodium Capsules 220 mg (NSAID), Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Fast Pain Relief, 120 Count
  • Aleve is Proven Stronger* & Longer on Pain than Tylenol *Based on clinical data from the first six hours after initial dosing.
  • Just Two pills for all day pain relief. Each pill has the strength to last 12 hours.
  • Get Fast, Continuous Pain Relief with Aleve Liquid Gels for up to 12 hours.
  • Aleve is an over-the-counter (OTC), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to deliver up to 12 hours of continuous pain relief at the site of pain.

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Like Advil Liqui-Gels, Aleve comes in an easy to swallow form. It is also extremely popular, selling several thousand bottles a month. It states explicitly that it is meant for minor arthritis, back, and body pain.

The liquid gel capsule provides 12 hours of pain relief. It ranks #2 as Naproxen Sodium on Amazon; however, it maintains that “Aleve is the #1 Orthopedic Surgeon recommended over the counter brand for minor arthritis pain.” That is quite a strong endorsement. Its possible advantage is its liquid gel form, which may be absorbed more quickly and easily than tablets, although this is not authenticated.

It provides temporary relief for those suffering from minor aches and pains, muscular aches, headaches, joint pain, menstrual pain, toothaches, and the common cold. It can also temporarily reduce fever.


Advil Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer Coated Tablet, 200 mg, 300 Count

Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These Advil coated tablets can relieve pain and reduce fever. It helps with the minor aches and pains associated with muscle aches, backaches, arthritis pain, and can help stop pain right at the site of inflammation. Each coated tablet contains 200 milligrams of ibuprofen and offers safe pain relief.

One interesting issue that comes up is the difference between generic drugs, such as Basic and brand named drugs such as Advil. One question implied that Advil, compared to generics, is ‘amazing,’ and referred to the opinion of the answer, that ‘nothing is better than the original.’

According to the individual who answered the question, the amount of ibuprofen may vary more or less than the amount that Advil states it contains. So just because it uses the same ingredient, how much is in it, and how it delivers to the body may be better than the generic. That is one person’s opinion and not something that this reviewer would speculate about.

The bottom line here is that if you have arthritis, muscle pain, fever, headache, etc., all of these products are highly recommended according to the hundreds of 5-star reviews and thousands of monthly sales.

How to choose? It comes down to your personal preference in the kind of pill you like, which is easier to swallow, and which brings on relief faster and lasts longer. These are subjective factors, that is, up to the individual to decide.


Is There a Difference Between Generic and Brand Name Drugs?

So, how do you decide what to buy? Go to this page. 

Many of the brands shown there are ‘generic’. Generic drugs are those which are no longer covered by a patent, which makes them a lot cheaper.

It does point out that all its products are made according to the highest standards.

On the other hand, the University of New Hampshire makes a strong case for generic over prescription patented drugs.

If the quality is the same, but the price is lower, then what? Well, it boils down to the issues discussed earlier, such as how easy it is to take? At these prices, which are not high, even for the brand name drugs, it may not matter too much. Do you prefer easy to swallow gels, or does it not really matter to you?

Check out the Amazon listing for these offerings and see what you think is best.

Prescription vs. Over the Counter Drugs

A final consideration is whether you think you should get a prescription rather than a nonprescription OTC drug. Prescription drugs require you to see a doctor, which can take time and money for the doctor, and it is often a higher cost for the drug itself. Not discussed in this review are NSAIDs that require a prescription.

They’re generally stronger but may also have side effects, which you need to thoroughly discuss with your doctor. And, whenever your doctor recommends a drug, search by yourself ‘side effects of…..’ and see what results you get. Are potential side effects worth the benefit of the medicine itself?

On the other hand, if your condition really demands it, that visit to the doctor could make all the difference in your treatment being successful or not. For starters, click on the links here to see for yourself what works for you. If you want to get some fast relief and are willing to put off a visit to the doctor, then you may find the NSAIDs above are good alternatives. Good luck! Nobody wants to be in pain.

Here is a good place to start to get better fast!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult a licensed medical professional if you have a medical issue.


What are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?

These drugs include aspirin, Advil, and Aleve and are commonly used to reduce pain and fever. Many people reach for these drugs to help with headaches, body aches, swelling, and stiffness. The most common are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. You can also get non-prescription NSAIDs over the counter in drug stores and supermarkets.

What are NSAIDs used for?

NSAIDs are often used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, muscle aches, backaches, dental pain, gout pain, bursitis, and menstrual cramps.

How do NSAIDs work?

When you take NSAIDs, they block the production of certain chemicals in the body that causes inflammation. They can also help treat the pain and slow down the damage. They work very similarly to corticosteroids that are also known as steroids. However, they don’t have as many side effects as you would find with steroids.

How long can you use OTC NSAIDs?

You don’t want to use these medications for more than three days in the case of a fever or more than ten days for any kind of pain unless it has been cleared with your doctor. They are only meant for short-term use.

How long until they start to work?

Some NSAIDs you take may work within a couple of hours, while others may take a while. If you are taking them for sudden pain, then you may want to find an OTC NSAID that works quickly. These are usually the ones that also have to be taken every 4 to 6 hours for the pain.

What are some of the more common side effects of these anti-inflammatory medications?

Some have reported problems with gas, feeling bloated, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or constipation. More serious side effects of NSAIDs to watch out for include dizziness, feelings of lightheadedness, problems with your balance, difficulty concentrating, and mild headaches.

Do these anti-inflammatory medications help with knee pain?

Naproxen has been ranked highly for its probability of improving function when it comes to knee pain. It was also ranked as one of the most effective individual treatments for knee pain to help reduce the pain and improve function. Following naproxen for knee pain, there are cortisone injections, PRP injections, ibuprofen, and then celecoxib.

Can NSAIDs cause stomach ulcers?

Since these anti-inflammatory medications block the Cox-1 enzyme and disrupt prostaglandin production in the stomach, NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding in some cases.

What is Reye’s Syndrome?

Reye’s Syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can cause swelling in the liver and the brain. It often affects children and teenagers that are recovering from some kind of viral infection like the flu or chickenpox. Aspirin has been found to contribute to the development of Reye’s Syndrome and is also related to mitochondrial damage caused by salicylates during a viral illness.

Can NSAIDs be used for long term pain?

NSAID medications are still popular medications used to treat chronic pain and long-term pain and to help reduce inflammation. Prescription NSAIDs are recommended for chronic pain and more long term use rather than the over the counter variety. This is especially true if someone has been found to have an increased risk of gastrointestinal complications.

Is there any kind of cardiovascular risk of using NSAIDs for pain?

Yes, there is. These anti-inflammatory medications can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This is why it is important that you only take the dose you need for the short term. To avoid your cardiovascular risk, they should not be used for long-term pain.