We all experience pain at some point in our lives. In fact there are 10 million people in the UK who experience pain nearly every day. For those who are normally relatively healthy and pain-free, it can be worrying particularly if you don’t know how to treat symptoms and manage your pain.

Here’s our list of the top five most common pain complaints and tips for how to deal with them.

“Some of the most common types of acute and chronic pain that people experience are stomach pain, headaches and migraines, joint pain, back pain and earaches.”

Back pain

What could be the cause?

Four in five adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives[i]. Most of the time, back pain is caused by a strain or sprain of some kind which might have occurred during lifting or whilst exercising. Things like posture or sitting in a hunched position for a long time can also lead to back pain.”

How can I treat this?

“Short-term pain can usually be treated with painkillers and you could try hot or cold packs. Try adjusting your sleeping position to see if that improves the pain. Although you might think exercise would not be recommended for bad backs, it can actually help. Avoid anything that is very painful but light exercise may speed up your recovery. Those with long-term back pain should speak to their GP about the most suitable treatment. LloydsPharmacy also offers a FREE Pain Management Service to help those living with chronic pain better manage their symptoms. ”

Stomach pain

What could be the cause?

“The most common causes of stomach pain are bloating, constipation, trapped wind and diarrhoea. This could be a result of something you’ve eaten or it could be stress related. Sudden and severe stomach pain could be a result of something more serious and should be looked at by a medical professional immediately.”

How can I treat this?

“There are lots of medicines you can buy at a pharmacy such as Buscopan for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Dioralyte for diarrhoea. Speak to a pharmacist and they will recommend the most suitable treatment. If the pain is caused by diet, try keeping a food diary as you might be able to identify a trigger. If stress is the cause, there are a number of methods to help you deal with stress such as yoga and exercise. If you are taking medication to treat another condition and experiencing digestive pain, it may be a result of the medicine you are taking, so I would recommend you arrange a medicines check-up with your Pharmacist who will be able to offer advice on how best to minimise this side-effect.”

Headaches and migraines

 What could be the cause?

“There are so many different types of headaches including migraines which can be severe and last for up to two days or more. There are many causes too, including physical exercise, dehydration, stress and even the environment (air pressure or temperature).”

How can I treat this?

“Having a warm bath or shower, or having a nap can help your headache. Alternatively you could try painkillers – make sure you ask a pharmacist which medication will work best for you.  In terms of reducing the risk of headaches, try to avoid too much stress if you can, and if you do struggle with this, try to find a coping strategy that works for you. Making sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise when possible, and eating healthily and regularly will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced.”

Joint pain

What could be the cause?

“Pain in the joints is commonly caused by arthritis or an injury. Older people are more likely to be living with arthritis and this could affect many different joints in the body such as knees, ankles or wrists. Injuries or accidents might cause things like inflammation of the joint lining or damage to the cartilage which causes pain.”

How can I treat this?

“When treating arthritis there are prescribed medications you can take to reduce the pain, and physiotherapy may also be effective – speak to your GP about the options available to you. There are also drug free alternatives available such as Flexiseq gel which helps to reduce inflammation. You could also try mobility aids that can help make everyday tasks easier. Visit Betterlife.co.uk to see our full range of mobility products. For injuries, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen should help, or products such as supports to help reduce the strain on the joint. ”

Earaches

What could be the cause?

“Common causes of earache are ear infections, glue ear or a build-up of wax. However it could also be a result of a dental problem or a throat infection.”

How can I treat this?

“A pharmacist can recommend ear drops or pain relief medication to help manage pain. You can also try placing a warm flannel over the effected ear. However try to avoid getting the ear wet if there is an infection. Your GP may also prescribe antibiotics to treat infections.”

LloydsPharmacy’s FREE Pain Management Service

Whether you’re experiencing acute pain such as a headaches or living with chronic pain such as Arthritis, we offer a FREE Pain Management Service, which involves a one-to-one consultation with one of our pharmacists.

They can help you to better manage your pain with a few simple adjustments to the medicine you take or your lifestyle, and will advise on the best treatments to relieve your pain.

If you have persistent pain the pharmacist will ask you to complete a pain diary to understand the problems you are experiencing, such as not getting enough sleep to struggling with getting around, using this information they will help you to set goals to overcome this.