OTC Medications for Nerve Pain

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Nerve pain is a potentially debilitating condition caused by medical disorders such as fibromyalgia, diabetes and injuries. Over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories may help relieve your symptoms.

Anti-Inflammatories

  • Anti-inflammatories reduce swelling caused by irritation or injury. Inflammation does have a purpose; the swelling is the process of fresh blood, antibodies and new cells rushing to the injury to nourish and heal it. If too much swelling occurs, it can put pressure on nearby nerves and cause extensive pain. Inflammation that does not subside can cause further damage to the nerves and surrounding tissues. Anti-inflammatories can help reduce the swelling, which will reduce pain. Common over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories include ibuprofen.

    Some risks are associated with taking these medications long term, including potential problems with the heart, liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal bleeding. Talk to your doctor first before starting an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory regimen.

Pain Relievers

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) are considered mild yet can help reduce pain completely or enough that it is bearable. Acetaminophen is nonnarcotic but should be taken as directed to avoid potential liver toxicity. Do not take more than the package directions indicate.

    Aspirin is another nonnarcotic pain reliever. Although it can ease nerve pain, it take it with caution, as it is a blood thinner. Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin you have a history of bleeding disorders, are on blood thinners, are pregnant or have stomach or liver problems.

Herbal Remedies

  • Herbal remedies such as chamomile, white willow bark and valerian may ease nerve pain by nourishing the nerves and relaxing them. Chamomile can help calm nerve spasms and ease burning and irritation. Valerian works best when taken at bedtime to help decrease nerve spasms and irritating sensations. Jamaica dogwood relaxes the nerves and decreases spasms but is a more powerful nerve relaxer than chamomile. An even more powerful relaxant is Gelsemium sempervirens (yellow jasmine). Once used only by doctors because of its powerful medicinal properties, it is now available for over-the-counter use.

    Other remedies for nerve pain include B-complex vitamins, St. John's wort, and the herb known as skullcap. These natural products are said to help calm the nerves so that they function normally without spasming, burning and pain.

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