When an NSAID May Be Better

When an NSAID May Be Better

If your mild chronic pain is not sufficiently controlled by acetaminophen, or involves inflammation (see the box on section 3), talk with your doctor about trying an NSAID. For reasons still unclear, some people respond better to one NSAID over another. There’s no way to know besides trying them out. We advise starting with naproxen (Aleve and generic) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and generic).

Both of these drugs have anti-inflammatory effects, are inexpensive, and are available without a prescription (though higher dose pills require a prescription). Aspirin is not the best choice in treating chronic pain since the larger doses typically needed for pain relief and easing inflammation may pose a higher risk of stomach bleeding and upset compared to naproxen, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs.

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