Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are pain relief or reducer medications. Aspirin and ibuprofen are the most common examples of that category of drugs.
The wider range of non-opioid analgesics also includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This means they are a different form of opioid painkiller (such as morphine) that is usually reserved for more serious cases of pain.
NSAIDs are typically used for less serious forms of pain that arise from different aches and pain problems.
They contain some of the world’s most popular pain relief medications, used every day by approximately 30 million Americans.
Important facts about NSAIDs
The following are overview points about NSAIDs selected – more information are on offer in the article.
- Many NSAIDs are available over the counter (OTC) – they are generally safe as long as they are used according to the label.
- NSAIDs may be preferable for cramps, aches and pains, or pain problems involving fever or swelling.
- There are risks in regularly taking NSAIDs over a long period, so patients should seek medical advice for long-term pain complaints.
What are NSAIDs?
Inflammation is a response to infection and damage from the immune system. The visible symptoms of inflammation are heat, redness, swelling, and pain.
When inflammation occurs, the body receives pain signals from nerve receptors. These signals are the result of complex responses and interactions within the body between cells and chemicals.
Anti-inflammatory medications partly minimize discomfort by reducing inflammation. People may use these drugs to relieve pain, stiffness, swelling and fever symptoms.
NSAIDs’ painkilling activity decreases the direct effect of inflammation on the stimulation and sensitivity of pain-nerve but also the indirect effect of inflammatory heat and swelling.
Examples of NSAIDs
OTC NSAIDs include:
- Naproxen Sodium
Prescription NSAIDs include:
- Vimovo (Naproxen/Esomeprazole)
NSAIDs are a large variety of medicines from many different groups. Although their chemical structures are different, they do have the following common effects:
- they reduce high temperature and fever
- they reduce inflammation
- they reduce pain
NSAIDs work by slowing down compound formation, known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins play a significant part in the inflammatory response of the body. Reducing the amount of prostaglandins released by the damage to the tissue reduces inflammation.
The NSAIDs block an enzyme, also known as COX, called cyclooxygenase. The COX enzyme assists the prostaglandin-producing reactions.
Blocking COX also interferes with platelets-blood cells that are involved in coagulation. Therefore NSAIDs have anti-coagulation effects.
What are NSAIDs used to treat?
NSAIDs are used for three broad symptom types that occur in a range of conditions:
- high temperature or fever
NSAIDs are used to ease pain in a number of conditions, including:
- backache – particularly long-term pain in the lower back
- cold or flu
- period pains
- joint or bone injuries, sprains, and strains
- muscle or joint complaints
Aspirin is used in small doses to help avoid cardiovascular disease which can cause heart attack or stroke. It can also be used to reduce the risk of other forms of colorectal cancer.
Headache and lower back pain are two of the most common reasons to use NSAID. If these issues are long-term problems, patients should consider the health of using NSAIDs.
Using NSAIDs for cold and flu
NSAIDs have been used to treat common cold symptoms for more than 100 years.
These medications, however, do not destroy the virus, or change the course of the disease. NSAIDs just ease some of the symptoms, including fever and pain.
A systematic review of the best evidence available to treat a common cold with NSAIDs reveals good effects against headache, ear pain and muscle and joint pain.
Precautions for using NSAIDs
How the body responds to NSAIDs varies from individual to individual and some people may experience side effects.
High doses and long-term use are more likely to cause some side effects.
Here are some general points concerning NSAID precautions:
- Alcohol does not have an interaction with these particular painkillers, although drinking excessive amounts while using NSAIDs can irritate the gut and increase the risk of internal stomach bleeding.
- People using other medications should let their pharmacist or doctor know.
- Taking more than one kind of NSAID can also have adverse effects.
- Patients should always follow the label for the particular NSAID they are using because every NSAID is different.
- Individuals should not take NSAIDs at the same time as anti-clotting drugs, such as aspirin or warfarin.
- Children under 16 years of age and people over 65 may need to avoid taking NSAIDS.
Many people who may need medical advice to stop or take such drugs:
- people who are allergic to NSAIDs
- asthma – this can be worsened by NSAIDs in some cases
- women who are pregnant or breast-feeding
- anyone with heart disease
Side effects of NSAIDs and long-term safety
Apart from the above precautions, taking NSAIDs may have side effects.
Serious side effects are less common than mild ones, and there is a varying possibility of any side effect between individuals. Those who take medications are more likely to have side effects at high doses or for a long term.
Compared with OTC NSAIDs, prescription NSAIDs usually have a higher risk and greater painkilling capacity.
Many people report less serious side effects including:
- indigestion and other gut complaints
Adverse events rarely associated with NSAIDs include problems with:
- fluid retention
- kidneys (see below)
- heart and circulation
Blood pressure – Blood pressure will increase with NSAIDs. They raising the blood supply to the kidneys, which means they function less harshly. It, in effect, triggers a build-up of fluid within the body. Blood pressure increases as there’s more fluid in the bloodstream. That can cause kidney damage in the long run.
The risk of heart attack and stroke is also significantly increased when taking NSAIDs, but not while taking aspirin at small doses
Peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding
Long-term or high-dose use of NSAIDs may also contribute to the production of ulcers in the stomach, called peptic ulcers. NSAIDs decrease prostaglandin activity, which decreases inflammation; however, prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach by helping it produce mucus. So NSAIDs leave the stomach open to acid effects.
People who are taking NSAIDs at long or high doses should consult their doctor about the prevention of ulcers. One alternative is to take separate medications which reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Another alternative is to employ a particular form of painkiller.
Back pain and kidney pain: Causes, symptoms, and more
The kidneys filter the blood, removing waste and excess fluid. These organs are located below the rib cage on either side of the body. Because the kidneys are pressed up against the back muscles, distinguishing between kidney and back pain can be difficult.
People must consider the following factors when determining if their pain is caused by the back or the kidneys:
- the source of the pain
- the nature and degree of the pain
- any symptoms that come with it
The basic characteristics and causes of kidney pain and back pain are discussed in this article. We also discuss when you should see a doctor.
When to consult your doctor
Rest, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain medicines are frequently used to manage mild back pain at home. People should consult a doctor if they are experiencing pain as a result of a catastrophic injury.
It’s critical to consult a doctor if you have symptoms of kidney stones or a kidney infection.
Any of the following symptoms should also be addressed by a physician:
- pain that is prolonged or intense and does not improve with rest
- back pain that worsens with time
- radiating pain, numbness, or tingling down the legs or into the arms
- walking or standing is difficult
- legs, ankles, and/or feet swelling
- unexplained weight loss
- sudden bladder or bowel problems
- a heartbeat that is erratic
- shortness of breath
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and poisons from the bloodstream, making them vulnerable to infection and injury. Excess calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones, which can be unpleasant if they restrict the flow of urine.
On either side of a person’s spine, kidney pain develops below the rib cage. It may also appear as if the pain originates from deep within the body.
Depending on whether a condition affects simply one kidney or both, people may suffer pain on one or both sides of the body.
Pain in the kidneys can spread to other parts of the body, including:
- the sides
Type and severity of pain
Small kidney stones frequently move through the urine system without causing significant pain. Larger stones, on the other hand, can cause excruciating pain that develops as the stone progresses from the kidney to the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder and are a part of the urinary system.
A kidney infection might cause a persistent dull discomfort or soreness.
Symptoms that come with it
Symptoms of kidney disease include:
- constipation or diarrhea
- cloudy or bloody urine
- painful urination
- a persistent need to urinate
The following are signs of serious kidney damage or problems:
- swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
- irregular heartbeat
- muscle cramps
- bad breath
- metallic taste
- shortness of breath
Causes of kidney pain
Kidney pain can result from a number of factors, including:
- blood clots in the kidneys
- trauma or injury to the kidneys
- kidney infections
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- kidney stones
Back pain is a pretty typical occurrence. Around 80% of adults will have lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Back pain can be caused by issues with the muscles, bones, or nerves in the back.
Back pain can vary in location, severity, and accompanying symptoms depending on the cause.
Back pain can arise in any part of the spine. The majority of people, however, suffer from lower back pain.
Type and severity of pain
Muscle pain is characterised by a dull ache or soreness. Muscle pain, which can range from mild to severe and fluctuate in response to stretching, might be triggered or worsened by certain bodily motions.
Nerve pain can cause a burning or stabbing feeling that can spread to other people of the body.
Sciatica is a type of back pain caused by nerve irritation. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, resulting in a searing pain in the lower back that spreads to the buttocks.
Vertebral fractures or an abnormally formed spine can cause bone pain. This form of pain appears out of nowhere. Bone pain can range from mild to severe, and it normally gets worse as you move.
Symptoms that come with it
Back pain might also cause the following symptoms:
- weakness in one or both legs
- inability to empty the bladder
- loss of control over urination
- diarrhea or constipation
- aches or stiffness along the spine
- sharp, stabbing pain in the neck
- finding it hard to stand up straight due to pain or muscle spasms
- walking difficulties
- numbness or tingling in the back that spreads to the limbs
- Causes of back pain
Causes of back pain
Back pain is frequently caused by spraining a muscle or ligament in the back. Overstretching, lifting too much weight, or employing inappropriate lifting techniques can all cause back discomfort.
Back pain can also be caused by the following causes:
- injuries to the back, such as fractures or falls
- damaged, dislocated, or ruptured discs
- abnormal curvature of the spine
- poor posture
- standing or sitting for an extended period
- muscle spasms
- muscle tension
Back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including:
- cauda equina syndrome, which affects the nerves at the base of the spinal cord
- abdominal aortic aneurysm
- inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and spondylitis
- cancer of the spine
Because the kidneys are located below the rib cage on either side of the spine and rest against the back muscles, it might be difficult to distinguish between back pain and kidney pain.
Kidney pain can be felt immediately below the rib cage on one or both sides of the back. UTIs, kidney stones, and blunt force damage to the kidneys are all causes of kidney pain.
Back pain can affect any part of the back, however the majority of people suffer from pain in the lower back. Heavy lifting, poor posture, and sitting or standing for lengthy people of time can all cause back pain. Back pain can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and infections.
Knowing the difference between kidney pain and back pain can help you get a better diagnosis and treatment.
What can cause back pain while breathing?
If back pain happens while a person breathes, it might signify an underlying medical concern. In certain situations the pain is intense, and probable causes vary from inflammation or infection of the chest to spinal curvature and lung cancer.
This article analyzes various probable causes of back pain during breathing and discusses when to contact a doctor.
In certain circumstances, back pain when breathing might be an indication of a heart attack. This is life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment.
A heart attack can occur if the blood supply to the heart’s muscles suddenly becomes stopped, by a blood clot, for example.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain
- a sense of pressure or fullness in the chest
- pain in one or both arms
- jaw pain
- shortness of breath
- nausea and vomiting
People experiencing signs of a heart attack should contact or see emergency services immediately.
Treatment varies according to the nature and severity of the heart attack. Typically, therapies entail procedures to restore blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle destroyed by a heart attack. When a heart attack is severe, the doctor may insert a sort of catheter through the person’s groin or wrist to unblock the blocked artery.
In certain people, the spine can become so bent that it causes extra pressure on the lungs, making breathing unpleasant.
Symptoms of scoliosis might include:
- back pain
- weakness and numbness in the hands and feet
- uneven shoulders, hips, or ribcage
- difficulty standing up straight
- problems walking
- shortness of breath
Doctors will evaluate numerous criteria when deciding on treatment alternatives, such as a person’s sex, the severity of the curve, curve location, and bone maturity. For example, a doctor may propose observation for less severe curvature in younger persons and suggest physical treatment for adults. For people with mild-to-moderate curvature, a doctor may prescribe wearing a back brace. Individuals with more severe scoliosis may require surgery to straighten their spine.
Carrying excess weight may exert extra strain on a person’s back, joints, and other regions of the body. Some people with obesity find it hard or even painful to take full, deep breaths.
Losing weight — for example, through a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise — may help decrease back and joint pain. People who are experiencing problems maintaining a healthy weight may desire to speak to a doctor about possible hormonal causes, such as poor thyroid function.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer generally does not cause symptoms in the early stages. However, a typical indication of lung cancer is chest pain that usually intensifies during heavy breathing or coughing.
Other signs of lung cancer might include:
- a chronic cough
- coughing up blood or blood in the mucus
- frequent or recurring respiratory infections
- shortness of breath
- difficulty swallowing
- unexplained weight loss
- a loss of appetite
The treatment of lung cancer is dependent on a number of factors, including the following:
- the type of lung cancer
- the location, size, and stage of the cancer
- the person’s overall health
Kyphosis is a disorder that causes a person’s spine to bend forward, which can lead to a hunched posture.
This curvature can occur during adolescence, following a spinal injury, or arise from age.
Kyphosis can also cause back pain, edema, and balance concerns. Symptoms may become worse with time, which can lead to difficulties breathing or eating in some people.
Treatment for kyphosis might entail attending physical therapy, wearing a brace, and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen. For severe kyphosis, a doctor may propose surgical therapy, such as a spinal fusion.
When a blood clot forms in an artery supplying blood to the lungs, it is known as a pulmonary embolism. This can obstruct blood flow, posing a life-threatening situation.
After a person has a pulmonary embolism, pain in the upper back and pain when taking a deep breath are common symptoms.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- chest pain
- coughing, and possibly coughing up blood
- a rapid heartbeat
- leg swelling
A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency, therefore anybody experiencing these symptoms should get help right once.
The goal of treatment is to keep the blood clot from spreading and to prevent additional clots from forming. Anticoagulant drugs to dissolve the blood clot and surgical procedures to remove or bypass the clot are the most common options.
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which is made up of two thin membranes that border and protect the chest and lungs. This inflammation can make it difficult to breathe and create acute pain in the shoulders and back.
Shortness of breath, coughing, and a fever are some of the other pleurisy symptoms that people may encounter.
Pleurisy treatment is determined on the underlying cause. Antibiotics, for example, may be prescribed by doctors to treat bacterial infections. They may also recommend various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes fluid to fill the small air sacs in the lungs. It can happen in either one or both lungs.
Pneumonia symptoms vary in intensity, but people who are breathing or coughing may have chest, stomach, or back pain.
Other signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- fever and chills
- coughing up phlegm
- shortness of breath
- a loss of appetite
The type of pneumonia a person has will determine the treatment choices available. Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are to blame for the illness. Supportive therapies are available when a virus is to blame. Pneumonia that is severe enough to necessitate hospitalization is possible.
When should you see a doctor?
Back pain that is severe, chronic, or worsening should be seen by a doctor. This is especially important if the pain is accompanied with tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
Seek medical help right away if you’re experiencing back or chest pain as a result of:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- severe coughing or coughing up blood
- dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
- pain in one or both arms
- swelling in the legs
- weakness or numbness
Back pain that makes it difficult to breathe might indicate a significant underlying disease or even a medical emergency, so it’s important not to dismiss the symptom.
Back pain that is severe, chronic, or worsening should be seen by a doctor. Anyone experiencing symptoms that might signal a heart attack or pulmonary embolism should seek medical help immediately.
What is Nerve flossing?
Nerve flossing is used to treat disorders involving nerve irritation, such as sciatica and piriformis syndrome. Nerve flossing is a sequence of easy exercises that gently mobilizes pinched or inflamed nerves.
Nerve flossing may help reduce discomfort and improve range of motion in several disorders.
Read on to know more about how nerve flossing operates and some basic exercises that people may do at home to aid with sciatica and piriformis syndrome symptoms.
Nerve flossing is a series of activities that help to mobilize the nerves softly. Nerve flossing is also known as nerve gliding or neural gliding by doctors. People can simply execute the workouts at home because they are easy and generally do not require any equipment.
Nerve flossing can be used in conjunction with other therapy approaches to help ease the symptoms of disorders including sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
People can undertake a number of nerve flossing activities to target different nerves in their bodies. Depending on the ailment that people are seeking to address, each workout will be different.
What is the process behind it?
Nerve flossing helps to reduce painful symptoms produced by inflamed or constricted nerves by mobilizing the nerves.
Nerve flossing exercises can also aid in the development of overall strength and flexibility.
Nerve flossing may be beneficial:
- expand the range of motion
- reduce the damage to nerves.
- reduce the discomfort
Nerve flossing can be used alone a natural remedy for nerve pain, or in conjunction with medicine and other treatment approaches.
Sciatica nerve flossing
The sciatic nerve goes from the lower back to the toes, passing through both legs. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a painful condition that affects the lower back, legs, calves, and feet.
According to research, nerve flossing can help alleviate sciatic pain and enhance hip range of motion.
Nerve flossing for piriformis syndrome
The piriformis muscle connects the bottom of the spine to the upper leg and is a tiny muscle. The sciatic nerve is quite close to the muscle. This indicates that piriformis syndrome might be caused by any compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The buttocks, hips, and hamstrings can all be affected by piriformis syndrome. Sitting or walking up steps may well be unpleasant for some people.
By increasing range of motion and flexibility, nerve flossing may help ease painful piriformis syndrome symptoms.
Exercises to help with sciatica
Here are some exercises for sciatica that people can do at home.
Sciatica nerve flossing exercise
- Lie on the floor with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
- Rest the head on a flat cushion or small book.
- Relax the upper body and tuck the chin in slightly.
- Place both hands behind the left knee and pull it in toward the chest.
- Slowly straighten the knee until feeling a stretch.
- Hold for 5 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply.
- Slowly bend the knee back into the chest and then lower the foot back to the starting position.
- Repeat with the right leg and do 5 times for each leg.
- Keep the upper body relaxed throughout, and make sure the stretch feels comfortable.
- People can also try lifting both knees and holding them in toward the chest.
Seated sciatic nerve floss
- Sit upright in a chair, with knees hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor and facing forwards.
- Extend the right leg, with the foot flexed toward the body.
- Extend the neck up and back to look up at the ceiling.
- Lower both the neck and leg down gently, so the chin tucks into the chest, and the leg goes slightly back past 90 degrees.
- Extend and lower the neck at the same time as extending and lowering the leg.
- Switch legs and repeat exercise 10 times for the left leg.
- Do 10 repetitions on both legs 2–3 times each day.
Other exercises that may help sciatica
- Lie down with the stomach on the floor and the legs outstretched.
- Bend the elbows by the sides, with the forearms flat on the floor facing forward.
- Keep the neck straight and look at the floor throughout the exercise
- Push into the floor with the hands while arching the back, so that you feel a slight stretch of the stomach muscles.
- Keep the hips on the floor.
- Hold this position for 5–10 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply.
- Gently lower back down into the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise up 8–10 times.
- Take care not to bend the neck back at any point.
Exercise for piriformis syndrome
Below are some piriformis syndrome exercises that individuals can do at home.
Nerve flossing exercises for piriformis syndrome
- Lie flat on the back with both legs extended.
- Bend the left leg and hold the left knee and foot.
- Bring the left leg across the right side of the body toward the right shoulder and hold for 5 seconds
- Gently lower to the floor and repeat the exercise with the right leg.
- Repeat 5 times on each side.
- Do this exercise 2–3 times per day.
Other exercises that may help piriformis syndrome
- Sit upright in a chair, with knees hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, and facing forward.
- Lift the left leg and rest the ankle on the right knee.
- Gently hold the left knee with the left hand and the right ankle with the right hand to keep the leg in place.
- Engage the core and slowly lean forward with the upper body, keeping the back straight
- Hold for 30 seconds, then return to an upright seated position.
- Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.
None of the workouts listed above should be painful. Anyone who is in excruciating pain should stop doing the exercises and seek medical advice. If symptoms do not improve after a few weeks, people should consult a doctor.
Before doing these exercises, anyone concerned about their safety should consult a doctor or physical therapist.
Nerve flossing is a set of easy exercises that may be done at home.
Nerve flossing helps to relieve pain and increase range of motion by gently mobilizing the nerves.
Nerve flossing, in combination with any other treatment recommended by their doctor, may be a useful treatment for problems such as sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
People should visit a doctor if they are unsure whether nerve flossing is the best solution for them. If patients experience extreme pain while performing nerve flossing activities, they should stop immediately and seek medical advice.