Pain Medication for People with Chronic Illnesses: Complete Information

pain medication

Chronic illnesses are of several types. They often cause varied kinds of pain in the body. Some are bearable, while a few can cause immense pain and have severe effects on the body.

Chronic pain can even limit one’s regular lifestyle. In many instances, it leads to the development of severe complications in the body, which can even hamper one’s mental health. The specialists recommend their patients to consume appropriate pain medications to control such body pains and its harmful effects.

One of the several challenges faced by such patients is appropriate medication and treatment. Why? That is because what works for your friend might not be quite useful for your chronic illness. It is more specific to the patients and their medical conditions.

From your anatomy to your biological conditions, every factor tends to determine what kind of treatment can be useful in controlling these conditions. And thus, one must never take any pain medicine without the supervision of a licensed medical professional.

Therefore, in many cases, patients often reach out to OTC drugs to get relief from such conditions. Here is a detailed article about the types and uses of medicines available in the market for curing such chronic illnesses and immense pain caused by them for your reference:


The first one on the list has to be the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Mostly the body pains are caused by severe inflammation of the cells and the tissues. These drugs are effective in controlling the problems that remain accompanied by inflammation and swelling.

You can control mild to moderate pain with these drugs. These are most commonly prescribed for patients who have arthritis. These are effective for severe pains caused due to back problems, neck injuries, and even menstrual cramps.

Working Principle

The generic names used for these drugs are Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, etc. These mainly work by inhibiting the enzymes in the body called cyclooxygenase.

These are released during any tissue damage and the NSAIDs work by blocking the other types of cyclooxygenase like COX-1 and COX-2, thereby reducing the potential inflammation and pain caused due to the injury.

Risks and Benefits

If taken as per the instructions of any medical professionals, then the regular usage of NSAIDs can be safe for your body. If you intend to take it more than the prescribed dosage, it can have side effects. Sometimes, these medications tend to cause stomach pain, nausea, ulcers, or even stomach bleeding.

The large doses of these NSAIDs can lead to difficulties related to kidney and fluid retention. There is always an increased risk of these conditions with age and other health problems. Before indulging in these medications, it is advisable to get a proper checkup from your physician.


Acetaminophen is typically recommended as a first-line treatment for pain ranging from mild to moderate, like skin injury, musculoskeletal condition, or headache.

It is often prescribed to help the patients to manage severe back pain and osteoarthritis. One can combine these with the opioids to lower the amount of the latter drugs needed.

Working Principle

There is no specific working principle known for these drugs. Scientists believe that there may be another type of cyclooxygenase named COX-3 that gets blocked by acetaminophen’s actions.

Please note that acetaminophen fails to block the actions of the other two types of cyclooxygenase enzymes. It doesn’t target the inflammation of the affected area. It might be slightly less effective as compared to NSAIDs.

Risks and Benefits

Acetaminophen is considered relatively safer than any other non-opioid pain-relieving drugs available in the market. That is because it doesn’t cause any side effects like bleeding and stomach pains. But consumption of this drug with alcohol might increase the kidney and liver damages with time.

COX-2 Inhibitors

The COX-2 inhibitors are the medications that are formulated to lower the common side effects caused by NSAIDs. These are prevalently used for arthritis and other pain caused due to menstrual cramps, back, neck, and other muscle sprains.

If you are looking for long-term effects for relieving pain without potential stomach or liver damages, then these drugs are the perfect choice for you. The brand name for this type of drug is Celecoxib.

Working Principle

COX-2 inhibitors are typically another form of NSAID which tends to work slightly different from the traditional NSAIDs. A COX-2 inhibitor is responsible for blocking the COX-2 enzyme. The same enzyme causes inflammation in the tissues and respective organs that causes severe pain in the body.

Risks and Benefits

COX-1 enzymes help protect the stomach lining, and NSAIDs block them, causing stomach ulcers and bleeding. But these COX-2 inhibitors effectively protect the stomach’s internal lining as they only act on the COX-2 enzymes. COX-1 can provide the appropriate protection to the stomach.

Anti-Seizure Drugs and Anti-depressants

Certain drugs help the patient to manage depression and even prevent epileptic seizures. These medications can also help relieve chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia, back pain, and diabetes-related nerve pain.

In such cases, the anti-depressants can help lift the mood and control pain simultaneously. The brand names of these medications are nortriptyline and amitriptyline. The anti-seizure drugs which are used for chronic pain relief include gabapentin and pregabalin.

Working Principle

It isn’t easy to see instant results with these drugs. Anti-seizure drugs control the nerve cells’ pain signals and can be used for shooting or stabbing pain, which arouses from nerve damages.

Risks and Benefits

The side effects of these anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications are quite mild compared to the other drugs mentioned above. Regular consumption of these might cause nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. The doctors might prescribe these medications in a small dosage to reduce the pain in the body.

The tricyclic anti-depressants can make the patients a little drowsy. In case of any changes in your pain patterns or even moods, you need to consult the doctor as soon as possible.


There isn’t any fixed medication to control or cure chronic illnesses in the body. Try switching to a healthy lifestyle and adjusting your pain medications as per your doctor’s advice. Eat healthily; use minimal medications to improve the odds to keep your pain under control successfully.