When you’re living with pain it can be difficult to know what’s the best treatment, and you might have questions you want answers to. That’s why we’ve got our Pharmacist Anshu Bhimbat to answer your most frequently asked questions about pain.

What’s the most effective over the counter back pain relief?

There are many different varieties and strengths of treatment for back pain. The type you choose will depend on a number of factors including the severity of your pain, if you’re taking any other medication, and your pain threshold.

Paracetamol is a common pain relief choice, which has minimal side effects. Ibuprofen (NSAIDS) has creams and tablet options and is best for inflammatory pain. Due to a higher risk of side effects it should be used with caution by those with certain pre-existing conditions or taking certain medicines.

Codeine can treat a range of pain types but has a higher risk for side effects including constipation.

Always ask our Pharmacist in store for advice when choosing pain relief, to ensure, you’re using what’s most effective for you.

Is there anything else besides medication that might help my pain?

Drug-free treatments may be used to help reduce pain and inflammation, such as Flexiseq, which is clinically proven to relieve joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

A TENS1 machine is also a drug-free option for effective pain relief. With a low-voltage current this device blocks pain signals to your brain to reduce pain levels.

Ask in store and our Pharmacist can advise on what’s best for you.

Whatever pain you’re experiencing, we offer a FREE Pain Management Service, which involves a private, one-to-one consultation with your Pharmacist. They’ll take you through our Pain Control Test to find ways to ease your pain, giving you personalised recommendations as well as ongoing support.

 I get back and joint pain regularly and find that it becomes even worse when the weather is cold, why is this?

A lot of people feel much worse in the winter, with pains and stiffness being more common when the weather’s cold or even wet. Although it’s not clear why this is the case, one possible reason is that the body’s reaction to cold is to restrict circulation close to the skin to minimise heat loss from your body, making you feel cold and in pain.

If you are struggling with your pain, you could try paracetamol or ibuprofen, for mild to moderate pain. Or there are drug-free alternatives such as TENS1 machines that use electrodes to help combat pain in specific areas, topical gels for joint pain, or heat wraps that can soothe and relax tight muscles.

Ask your pharmacist for advice to help you find the best pain relief. Make sure to always read the label and never exceed the dosage stated on the packet.

 I regularly get headaches, so end up taking paracetamol every day. They used to work fine but now I seem to have become tolerant to them and they just don’t shift my headaches. In fact, they are now worse than ever.

When taking painkillers for headaches, you do need to be careful not to take them too regularly. It’s a known fact that taking paracetamol all the time for a headache will actually give you something called a ‘painkiller headache’ or ‘rebound headache’, so it could be the paracetamol that is now causing your pain. But it can happen with other painkillers as well, especially if they contain codeine. Be careful if you’ve had this problem over many years, or if it is because of the codeine, as you’re probably best to stop taking them under your doctor’s supervision.

My advice would be to stop taking the painkillers. You may find your headaches get worse for a week to 10 days, but will then get better. During this time you could try using drug-free treatments such as LloydsPharmacy Hot Cold Pack to help soothe your headaches.

1 NOT SUITABLE FOR USE DURING PREGNANCY OR LABOUR, OR IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY BE PREGNANT. Not suitable for people with pacemakers or other implanted medical devices or for people with heart rhythm problems. Not suitable without supervision for children under 16 years of age.