Aside from narcotics, steroids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are the three main drug classes used by foot and ankle surgeons to control pain, a variety of other adjuvant medications can be used to help ease discomfort.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is only useful for mild aches and pains that are not caused by an underlying inflammatory process. Unlike aspirin or ibuprofen, Tylenol is not an anti-inflammatory agent. For example, Lebron James recently suffered a minor ankle sprain in his NBA playoff game. Since ankle sprains swell, Tylenol would not be the best choice for him.
Although it is available over the counter, patients should still realize it has side effects. Tylenol overdose is actually the leading cause of liver failure. It is especially damaging to the liver when used in combination with alcohol. Make sure you limit your daily Tylenol intake to under 4,000 mg.
Muscle relaxants are also used sparingly. They are known to cause drowsiness and best used in combination with other pain relievers.
Nerve pain is treated differently than your typical aches and pains. It has a characteristic “burning or tingling” sensation that is best treated by certain antidepressants or anticonvulsants. The antidepressant most commonly used for nerve pain is called amitriptyline. Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant, is also used frequently. Both of these are notorious for causing drowsiness. Pregabalin, a different anticonvulsant, does not cause drowsiness to the extent that gabapentin does. Podiatrists usually start their neuropathy patients on gabapentin and switch to pregabalin if they are too tired to function on the former.
Visit a Dr. Wilkins at Advanced Foot Care if you experience foot pain. Medication may or may not be necessary for your circumstance, but at least you will now be more aware of some of the commonly used drugs for specific types of pain.
By: Dr. Wilkins
3742 Tennessee Ave. Ste # 108
Chattanooga, TN 37409