Consultation & treatments
What is pain?
Minor and temporary pain is a part of life. Pain serves to warn us when something is wrong, and can be part of the healing process by making us be careful after we have been hurt. As we get older things tend to creak and groan a little, and sometimes a bad back or aching joints can become a hindrance to daily life.
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What are the different types of pain?
For all of us the pursuit of an active life can also sometimes result in injury. It’s great to be active – the benefits of playing sport and generally being physically active through cycling, walking, gardening, doing DIY or in any other way are well documented. However, occasionally things can go wrong, leaving you with those sprains, strains, aches and pains that often go hand-in-hand with an active life.
The most common sprain is a sprained ankle - this is when one or more of the ankle ligaments are stretched or perhaps ruptured or torn during a sudden impact or pull on the joint. Repetitive and forceful movements can also cause sprains. Ligaments in other joints such as the knee, wrist, elbow or thumb can be similarly sprained.
Strained muscles are caused when the muscle in question is overstretched or torn to some extent due to over stretching or being caused to contract too quickly. This can happen as a result of an accident or intended physical exertion. The most common is a strained hamstring, but strains to the calf, thigh and lower back are also common.
How is pain treated?
Pain can be treated in a number of ways, and the best approach depends on what has happened to cause the pain.
The general aches and pains of life we often experience as we get older - such as a sore back or aching joints - are best investigated by a doctor if they last a long time or seem to be getting worse. Minor problems can be managed by the careful use of pain relief medication (analgesia) as and when it is needed.
Types of pain relief medication
Effective pain relief can be available without a prescription. Paracetamol is an effective pain reliever and can be used either alone or in combination with codeine. Ibuprofen (with or without codeine) is effective for pain and inflammation and is from a class of medicines known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). A wide variety of pain relief products containing these ingredients are available without a prescription. Click here for further details and to purchase relief for joint and muscle pain.
In some cases, something a little stronger may be needed and the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service can prescribe higher strengths of ibuprofen, which are only available on prescription. The prescription-only NSAIDs Naprosyn (naproxen) tablets, Celebrex or the generic version celecoxib are also available. Co-codamol and codeine can also be prescribed if the doctor thinks they are right for you.
Arcoxia (etoricoxib) is a prescription-only NSAID that can also be prescribed for short periods of time, which is very effective for controlling pain and inflammation. It has a long duration of action and so needs only to be taken once a day. It is the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor’s prescription treatment of choice for sports injuries and other sprains and strains.
What shoud I be aware of?
There is debate whether or not drugs that reduce inflammation (ibuprofen, diclofenac and other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs -NSAIDs) should be taken in the first 48 hours after an acute injury as they may delay healing. They are, however, effective in controlling the pain. Current guidelines are that they should be avoided in that initial 48-hour period.
Precautions to following after minor injury
When strains and sprains occur, what do we do? In most cases, these injuries will heal themselves over time, so the aim of treatment is to keep the short-term pain to a minimum and minimise the inflammation and swelling to keep the joint mobile. This avoids the formation of scar tissue, which can restrict movement in the longer term. "PRICE" therapy is advised:
Protect the injured area from further damage by providing support. Ankle supports or knee braces can be very useful.
Rest the injured area for 48-72 hours. You may need to use crutches to get around.
Ice. Apply ice for 10-30 minutes. More than 30 minutes can damage the skin. The cold reduces blood flow, which in turn reduces pain and inflammation.
Compression. Compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further. You can use a crepe bandage or a simple elastic bandage. Bandage the area snugly but not so tightly that it restricts blood flow. Remove the bandage before you go to sleep.
Elevate. Raise the affected area to reduce swelling.
In addition, you should avoid "HARM", an acronym for things you should avoid in the first 72 hours following an injury:
Heat. This can increase blood flow and increase swelling and pain.
Alcohol should be avoided as it can increase bleeding and delay healing.
Running or other activity that can aggravate the injury should be avoided.
Massage. This stimulates blood flow and can increase bleeding and swelling.
In most cases, strained joints should be kept moving gently to avoid loss of mobility – this also promotes healing. Strained muscles are more often better kept still for the first few days to allow them to heal.Start Consultation