Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs for Pain Relief


The other day, I was having lunch with a couple of friends of mine, and  the subject of pain relief, such as painful joints, painful back and in my case, painful knees came up. My two friends mentioned that they were using a couple of drugs which are generally known as NSAIDs, or Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs. While true that not all joint pain is due to arthritis, a significant amount is. Here is what the CDC, or the US Government Agency Center for Disease Control has to say about this:

Between 2013 and 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly 23 percent of Americans had a diagnosable joint disorder. Though most of these can be classified as arthritis, that category is broad. There are over 100 different varieties of arthritis. Still, a large percentage of those cases fall into two main categories — and if you experience joint pain, yours could too.




To learn more about the most popular brand name and generic pain relief NSAIDs, click here or scroll down for the reviews.


What are NSAID Drugs?


NSAID stands for Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs. One of the main causes of pain is inflammation. So some drugs, the steroidal drugs, such as cortisone or prednisone are steroids, which also reduce inflammation. NSAIDs, though, work differently from Steroids. They are so called COX (Cyclo-Oxygenase enzymes) blockers, thus reducing another chemical in the body, prostaglandins. This results in reduction of symptoms such as pain, inflammation and fever.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) are a group of medicines that relieve pain and fever and reduce inflammation. There are nearly two dozen different NSAIDs available, but they all work in the same way, and that is by blocking a specific group of enzymes called cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, often abbreviated to COX enzymes. via List of Common NSAIDs + Uses, Types & Side Effects – Drugs.com


What are the Benefits of NSAIDs?

Pain is an unfortunate aspect of life. It can come at any age and from a variety of causes, such as illness or injury. In seeking relief from pain, people often use some types of medicines. Two common ones are opioids and steroids. Both can lead to significant problems.  Opioids can be highly addictive. In fact there is a serious crisis from the use of opiods, such as Oxycontin, which we hear about in the news almost daily.

Steroids are not addictive, but they can have significant side effects, such as the thinning of tissues. Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatories, especially those sold ‘over the counter’, that is, without a prescription, are readily available, not expensive and they do work.

When an individual is feeling pain or experiencing inflammation on a certain region of the body, OTC medication is often adequate for providing pain relief. These kinds of OTC drugs called NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are accessible at department stores and drugstores. via Benefits Of NSAIDs – Benefits Of

Common Side Effects of NSAIDs

NSAIDs are enormously popular drugs which can relieve pain. However, they can have either annoying or even serious side effects. The most common one is stomach irritation. However, if you take them over a period of time, more serious symptoms such as tendency to bleed more easily, ringing in the ears, headaches, and even an increase in blood pressure.  For this reason, taking them over an extended period of time can cause real problems such as kidney or liver problems or even heart attacks and strokes!

What are some common side effects of NSAIDs? … Other side effects are less common. … WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. via What are some common side effects of NSAIDs? – WebMD

One friend told me that he took Ibuprofen, one of the most common NSAIDs for 3 days, and his blood pressure then jumped to 180/100! He knew something was wrong because he started feeling dizzy. Fortunately, he has a home blood pressure monitor and caught it. For that reason, it might be better to use more natural alternatives if possible.

Anyway, the fact is that NSAIDs are very popular and effective if used properly. 

However, go here for a more detailed discussion of the side effects of long term NSAID use.

The Top NSAIDs for Arthritis

Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Arthritis is perhaps the most common source of knee, back and joint pain, especially as people get into their 50’s and beyond.  Let’s take a look at the top brands of NSAIDs, to see what literally thousands of buyers chose, and why.

We went to Amazon and typed in the search box, “NSAID’s for Arthritis”.

260 products came up. However, for our purposes, in this case, we chose the top pills, capsules or tablets. (Other methods of pain relief are also possible of course). Click here to learn about those.

We looked at the following criteria:

  • The top sellers in the past month by sales
  • Their overall Amazon rank
  • How many reviews they have (preferably over 200)
  • What is their star rating–at least 4.0

Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets, 500 Count

Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer (NSAID), 500 Count
1,113 Reviews
Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg, Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer (NSAID), 500 Count
  • ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg are used as a pain reliever/fever reducer (NSAID) which compares to Advil active ingredient.
  • PAIN RELIEVER/FEVER REDUCER (NSAID): If you have a fever or muscular aches, minor arthritis pain, toothache, backache, menstrual cramps or minor aches and pains from the common cold, then Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg can bring you some relief when taken as directed.
  • NSAID: Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that temporarily reduces fever and provides temporary relief of minor aches and pains due to: headache, muscular aches, backache, the common cold and menstrual cramps
  • EFFECTIVE: Ibuprofen Tablets 200 mg are used as a pain reliever and fever reducer (NSAID) for adults and children 12 years and over.
  • PAIN MANAGEMENT: Exercise may help with pain as it releases endorphins, the body's natural pain blocker. These coated tablets temporarily relieve minor aches and pains due to headache, minor pain of arthritis, and the common cold

Last update on 2020-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The number one best seller according to the latest (March 2019) results is the Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets. It has the same ingredient as Advil, and according to their information, it is good for headaches, muscle aches, minor arthritis pain, toothache, backache and menstrual cramps.

It also ranks as the #1 Ibuprofen product.

Over 600 people reviewed it, and gave it a stunning 4.8 star rating. With 89% giving a 5 star review, while the combined 1 and 2 star reviews amount to only 1%. Very few products have such high scores.

Excellent Supplemental Information

One of the value added benefits of the product, is that the listing has some excellent general information about what causes pain, and what to do about it. So go to the listing just for the information it provides.

It also provides extensive warnings about possible adverse reactions, so be sure to read that, as well.

Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets, 300 Count

Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets, 300 Count (Pack of 1)
908 Reviews
Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets, 300 Count (Pack of 1)
  • ACTIVE INGREDIENT: The active ingredient in Basic Care All Day Pain Relief, Naproxen Sodium Tablets, 220 mg is Naproxen Sodium. Compare to Aleve Caplets active ingredient.
  • STRENGTH TO LAST 12 HOURS: Pain reliever and fever reduction for up to 12 hours.
  • PAIN RELIEVER: Temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to arthritis, muscular aches, backache, menstrual cramps, headache, toothache and the common cold. Also temporarily reduces fever.
  • NAPROXEN SODIUM: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used as a pain reliever/fever reducer.
  • FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN 12 YEARS AND OLDER: Children under 12 years: ask a doctor.

Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Basic Care Naproxen is a very strong contender in the NSAID pain relief space. It sells over 7000 bottles a month, not as many as Basic Care Ibuprofen, which sells over 15,000. However, it is the #1 Naproxen Sodium product, with a 4.8 star rating, and over 400 reviews. 

It compares with the active ingredient in Aleve, and provides temporary relief of minor arthritis, muscle, headache, menstrual, backache, and tooth ache pains for up to 12 hours.

It also has extensive supplemental information about pain relief and cautions about its use. If you are looking for an alternative to Ibuprofen, then this might be what you are looking for.

Aleve Liquid Gels with Naproxen Sodium, 220mg (NSAID) Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, 120 Count

Aleve Liquid Gels, Naproxen Sodium Capsules 220 mg (NSAID), Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Fast Pain Relief, 120 Count
277 Reviews
Aleve Liquid Gels, Naproxen Sodium Capsules 220 mg (NSAID), Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, Fast Pain Relief, 120 Count
  • Aleve is proven better and lasts longer on pain than Tylenol
  • get fast, continuous pain relief with Aleve liquid gels
  • only Aleve works at the site of pain all day with just two pills. Aleve is different, each aleve liquid gel has the strength to last 12 hours.
  • Aleve is an over the counter (OTC), nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has provided temporary relief from minor aches and pains for 25 years
  • Aleve provides temporary relief of minor aches and pains due to backaches, muscular aches, headaches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, menstrual pain, toothaches, and the common cold. Also temporarily reduces fever

Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Like Advil Liqui-Gels, Aleve comes in an easy to swallow form. It is also extremely popular, selling several thousand bottles a month, has a 4.5 star rating and respectable 200+ reviews. It specifically states that it is meant for minor arthritis, back and body pain.

The liquid gel capsule provides 12 hours of pain relief. It ranks #2 as Naproxen Sodium on Amazon, however, it maintains that “Aleve is the #1 Orthopedic Surgeon recommended over the counter brand for minor arthritis pain”. That is quite a strong endorsement. Its possible advantage is its liquid gel form, which may be absorbed more quickly and easily than tablets, although this is not authenticated.

Advil Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer Coated Tablet, 200 mg, 300 Count

Advil Coated Tablets Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer, Ibuprofen 200mg, 300 Count
728 Reviews
Advil Coated Tablets Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer, Ibuprofen 200mg, 300 Count
  • Relieve pain and reduce fever: Whether you have occasional muscle aches, backaches, minor arthritis pain, or other aches and pains, Advil stops pain at the site of inflammation so you can get relief where you need it.
  • Pain relief: Advil Coated Tablets contain 200 milligram of Ibuprofen. Tough headache, minor arthritis, menstrual cramps, backache, and other pains don't stand a chance against Advil.
  • Unbeatable strength:Millions of people choose Advil as their medicine for powerful pain relief. Use as a fever reducer and to help alleviate common pain symptoms including headache, backache, toothache and pain caused by the common cold.
  • Safe pain relief: For over 30 years, millions of people choose Advil to deliver powerful pain relief from many kinds of acute pain including headache, backache and joint and minor arthritis pain.
  • Choice for pain relief: Advil delivers unbeatable strength of tough pain. Add Advil to your cart today and get power over pain. This oral pain reliever can be used by adults and children who are 12 years and older.

Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Recent Amazon rankings (which change frequently) say that Advil Coated Tablets ranked very high, #4 in Joint and Muscle Pain Relief Medications and #7 in Arthritis and Pain Relief Medications. It sells over 3500 bottles a month, has over 600 reviews and has a 4.7 Star Rating.

With a stunning 87% of reviews giving it 5 stars, and only 1% giving it 1 star and 2 star reviews. Consumer sentiment is very high for this Advil product. And of course, it is a trusted brand name for 30 years. It also claims to be the #1 Doctor recommended pain reliever.

What makes this product different is that it is a coated tablet. So it is a tablet like the Basic products reviewed above, and it is also coated. This is Ibuprofen, like several other products reviewed here.

One interesting issue that comes up is the difference between generic drugs, such as Basic, and brand named drugs such as Advil. One question implied that Advil compared to generics is ‘amazing’. And refered to the opinion of the answer, that ‘nothing is better than the original’.

According to the individual who answered the question, the amount of ibuprofen may vary more or less than the amount that Advil states it contains. So just because it uses the same ingredient, how much is in it and how it delivers to the body may be better than the generic. That is one person’s opinion and not something that this reviewer would speculate about.

The bottom line here, is that if you have arthritis, muscle pain, fever, headache, etc., all of these products are highly recommended according to the hundreds of 5 star reviews and thousands of monthly sales. How to choose? It comes down your personal preference in the kind of pill you like, which is easier to swallow and which brings on relief faster and lasts longer. These are subjective factors, that is, up to the individual to decide.

Is There a Difference Between Generic and Brand Name Drugs?

So how do you decide what to buy? The Basic Store Amazon page doesn’t use the word “Generic”, which would be kind of nice. Why not just call things by their true name. It does point out that all its products are made according to the highest standards.

On the other hand, the University of New Hampshire makes a strong case for generic over prescription drugs.

Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs: What’s The Deal? via Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs: What’s The Deal?

So if the quality is the same but the price is lower, then what? Well, it boils down to the issues discussed earlier, such as how easy is it to take? At these prices which are not terribly high, even for the brand name drugs, it may not matter too much. Do you prefer easy to swallow gels, or does it not really matter to you?

Check out the Amazon listing for these offerings and see what you think is best.

Prescription vs Over the Counter Drugs

A final consideration is, whether you think you should get a prescription rather than a non prescription, OTC drug. Prescription drugs require seeing a doctor. Which can take time and money for the doctor, and higher cost of the drug itself. Not discussed in this review are NSAIDs that require a prescription.

They’re generally stronger but may also have side effects which you need to thoroughly check with your doctor. And, whenever your doctor recommends a drug, do a search for ‘side effects of…..’ and see what results you get. Are potential side effects worth the benefit of the medicine itself?

On the other hand, if your condition really demands it, that visit to the doctor could make all the difference in your treatment being successful or not. For starters, click on the links here, to see for yourself what works for you, if you want to get some fast relief, and are willing to put off a visit to the doctor.  Good luck! Nobody wants to be in pain. Here is a good place to start to get better fast!


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult a licensed medical professional if you have a medical issue.