How Do Painkillers Actually Work?

how do painkillers work in the brain

As it is really noticeable from the name, painkillers are drugs that deal with or reduce pain in the body. There are different types of painkillers readily available in the market. However then how do painkillers work? How should one take the medicine? Exist any negative effects? These might all be the concerns on your mind.

Painkillers can either be injected into the body, for example morphine can be injected into the body to reduce pain, or they can be taken orally such as Paracetamol which can be taken in to reduce little pains. Oral medications can come in syrup kind, pills or tablets. Some pain relievers are also injected into the body through the anus passage. These medicines are referred to as suppositories. If your skin or muscles are in pain then you can also apply ointment or some cream that will satisfy of a painkiller.

Painkillers can be categorized into three types:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS).
  • Paracetamol.
  • Opioids.

These three various types of painkillers work in various ways. Generally people take painkillers for short quantities of time, throughout which the medicine provides relief from the pain at hand. Often, nevertheless, there is a regrettable mishap which demands prolonged usage of painkillers.

How Do Painkillers Work?

Painkillers are best at fighting pain that is either mild or moderate. Their function and outcome is comparable, however the procedure through which they rid the body of pain is entirely different from one another.

1. Paracetamol: how does it work

Paracetamol is targeted for the brain and it works by stopping the production of pain from the source. It reduces the production of inflammatory substances and chemicals in the brain, which are generally referred to as prostaglandins. These inflammatory chemicals can be found anywhere in the body however they are concentrated in the brain. Paracetamol can be valuable in relieving a person of pain as well as fever.

2. NSAIDs: how does it work

NSAIDs are drugs that are comprehensive of aspirin and ibuprofen and they have a completely different work process than Paracetamol. These medicines cease the production of prostaglandins just as Paracetamol, however rather of targeting the brain, they target the prostaglandins present throughout the body. This makes them reliable; nevertheless, the adverse effects of this kind of medication is that because they target the prostaglandins in the body instead of the brain, they wind up affecting the various physical functions and organs as well. So if you are trying to ease yourself of stomach pains then, the NSAIDs will target the lining of your stomach which can go either way.

3. Opioids: how does it work

This kind of medication is something that targets the receptors in the body. These receptors are discovered in the central nervous system and the gut. They are also discovered in some other vital parts of the body. Opioids increase your tolerance for pain and they likewise work at lowering the pain your body is experiencing.

how do painkillers work to reduce pain

How to Take Painkillers

When you are dealing with some type of pain or difficulty, then it is encouraged that you routinely take painkillers for a designated period of time. Do not skip dose and do not take them at a whim because pain relievers work in a specific method. However, if your pain is an one-time thing (such as a headache) you can take it only when to relieve the pain at hand.

However, always be sure to eat something prior to you take a painkiller such as Paracetamol or NSAID. These medicines are strong and they will end up having an unfavorable impact on your stomach if you do not work out safety measure prior to consuming them. Your stomach may even face strong pressure and internal bleeding in your stomach might be caused if you take painkillers without consuming something first.

How Long Will the Treatment Last?

Try to limit using painkillers to much shorter time periods, because taking pain relievers for longer durations may have unfavorable effects on your body. Take pain relievers for the purpose of easing pain; and when the issue has been cured, stop taking them instantly. There are some circumstances, such as arthritis, in which you need to continue the usage and usage of pain relievers, however do refrain from doing so without first speaking with a medical expert.

Possible Side Effects of Painkillers

How do painkillers work? When you comprehend this, it is likewise essential to have some idea of the possible side effects of painkillers. Never presume that some medications do not have any negative effects. Every kind of medicinal drug has its own set of adverse effects. Mostly adverse effects just take place when medications are taken in huge dosages without the idea of a medical specialist. In some cases the combinations of 2 or three various kinds of medicines may also produce incorrect results. Here are a few of the side effects of the pain relievers listed below:.


NSAIDs do not have any harmful or dangerous negative effects but it can still trigger you to deal with small negative effects. However, in extreme and uncommon cases, you can suffer from:

  • Bleeding of the stomach.
  • Bleeding of the gut.
  • Cardiovascular issues.

2. Paracetamol

Normally speaking, Paracetamol is a safe medicine to consume if you follow the instruction and take correct quantity. However, its negative effects may happen due to prolonged usage or an overdose of the medication, which may lead to permanent damage to your liver and people can pass away from this. Therefore, it is of super importance not to overuse the medication.

3. Opioids

The most well-known side effects of this medication are:

  • Queasiness.
  • Throwing up.
  • Constipation.
  • A Dry mouth.
  • Confusion.
  • Drowsiness.

For individuals who end up being depending on Opioids, please talk about with your doctor when you require higher doses of the medication to eliminate the pain.

Note: Interactions in between pain relievers and other medications might be unsafe by resulting in reactions or interfering the efficiency of the treatment. Do inform your doctor about exactly what medications you are taking when recommended painkillers.


Updated: August 18, 2016 — 9:09 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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