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Need pain relief? Here are 13 prescription and natural remedies you can get at the pharmacy and grocery store. Plus, evaluate your ache with our quiz...

Move over aspirin. When the PMS, migraine or lower back pain gets so bad you don’t want to leave your bed, it’s time to reach for the strong stuff. But which pain med is right for your aching body? Read on for a list of top (sometimes surprising) remedies that can help women get relief.

Prescription Drugs
Depending on how bad it hurts, the doctor might recommend an anti-inflammatory drug – or deep-acting narcotic to kill the pain and soothe your brain. Here are 8 commonly prescribed remedies and how they work:

1. Celebrex
This popular drug reduces inflammation that causes pain.

Who’s it for? Widely prescribed for arthritis, back pain, joint pain and chronic disorders, Celebrex usually works within a few days.

Watch out: Many people remember Celebrex’s infamous sibling, Vioxx, which was yanked off the market in 2004 because of increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death. Despite its close relation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insists Celebrex is safe. But I advise steering clear of Celebrex if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Voltaren, Mobic, Motrin and Naprosyn are brands of other anti-inflammatories that have fewer side effects. They seem to be easier on the circulatory system and heart, but cause more stomach upset and ulcers.

2. Ultram
Ultram (tramadol) may help if over-the-counter pain relievers don’t work. It blocks receptors in the brain so you no longer feel the pain.

Who’s it for? Ultram makes you feel good from head to toe. It works on post-operative and low back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and headaches. And it might even make you happy because it boosts a brain chemical called serotonin, which is often suppressed in people who have depression.

Watch out: The biggest problem? It may trigger seizures in susceptible people. It’s also habit-forming and shouldn’t be prescribed for people with a history of alcoholism or addiction. Other side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, itching, sweating and agitation. Don’t drink grapefruit juice, which can spike levels of this painkiller.

3. Vicodin or Lortab
These narcotics change the way your body senses pain. Stronger versions include Percocet and Percodan.

Who’s it for? They relieve moderate aches and pains, and are terrific for headaches, back pain, joint pain and nerve pain.

Watch out: Vicodin and Lortab are addictive. They also might make you dizzy, sleepy, nauseated and constipated. You’ll be warned not to drive or operate machinery while taking them.

4. Oxycontin
With a super-cool delivery system that uses a tiny mesh inside the tablet, Oxycontin slowly releases medication over 12 to 24 hours.

Who’s it for? Oxycontin is one of the big guns in the pharmacy. It’s for people who don’t respond to the regular arsenal of pain drugs, for example, those with very strong cancer pain or severe injuries such as fractures, neck pain and back pain.

Watch out: Oxycontin must be swallowed whole. It should never be crushed or chewed – as drug addicts and kids looking for a buzz do. People who do – even by accident – usually don’t live to tell about it. Tampering with the pill releases the entire dose into the body at once.

5. Lidoderm
A convenient skin patch, it delivers lidocaine, an anesthetic that numbs the skin.

Who’s it for? A Lidoderm patch can be used before a minor medical procedure or before getting a shot. It may also ease back pain, and the burning and stinging caused by shingles.

Watch out: Too much lidocaine can stop the heart. Seriously.

6. Lyrica
Lyrica belongs to a class of drugs used to control seizures, but it works well to treat pain.

Who’s it for? It relieves nerve pain caused by diabetes, shingles, trigeminal neuralgia, as well as other burning and stinging that shoot into your arms, legs, fingers, toes and face.

Watch out: Lyrica can make some people confused and sleepy, short of breath and weak. You have to work your way up to the most effective dose and work your way off it. Don’t suddenly stop taking Lyrica.

7. Duragesic
This patch delivers powerful pain medication through your skin and into your bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike Lidoderm, which only numbs the area, Duragesic relieves pain.

Who’s it for? It’s reserved for the most chronic, disabling pain – for example, that's experienced by a terminally ill cancer patient. One patch works for three days.

Watch out: Side effects include drowsiness, as well as slowed breathing and heart rate. Don’t cut the patches! People have died when the entire dose was released at once. It’s supposed to be delivered slowly. Also, absolutely no alcohol with this one!

7. Botox
Yep, I’m talking about Botulinum toxin, the same pretty poison used to smooth out wrinkles. This type, called Myobloc, is injected into the skin where you have pain.

Who’s it for? Botox can help relieve migraines, back pain, neck pain and other painful conditions. One series of shots can offer several months of relief. As a bonus, various forms of Botox can treat sweaty palms and armpits. How beautiful is that?

Watch out: The most common side effects include pain, tenderness and bruising at the injection site.

8. Steroids
Steroids aren’t just for body builders. Prescribed steroids, such as prednisone, methylprednisolone and dexamethasone, control inflammation and pain in the body. But don’t expect to build any muscles; the drugs I’m talking about are strictly medicinal.

Who’s it for? Taken orally, these drugs ease arthritis and severe body pain. If your sinus cavities or breathing tubes are inflamed, steroids can be inhaled or squirted up the nose.

Watch out: The list of side effects is long and depends on the type of steroid. You may have insomnia, crankiness, constipation, stomach cramps, infections and sometimes psychosis.

Natural Remedies
You won’t find the following remedies at the pharmacy, but these natural alternatives may offer relief from aches and pains.

1. Pineapples
This fruit contains a powerful extract called bromelain, which acts like Pac-Man chomping down dangerous clots and plaques that cause pain and inflammation.

Who’s it for? Pineapples or the supplement bromelain can help women who have arthritis or post-surgical inflammation.

2. Crabs and Lobsters
Shellfish are rich in glucosamine, which helps build up the squishy cartilage between your joints. Studies have compared natural glucosamine to medicine and guess what? Glucosamine worked better in the long run!

Who’s it for? Crabs and lobsters are perfect fare for women with osteoarthritis.

3. Fish
Go for the fish that swim in freezing water like salmon, cod and mackerel. Fish or supplements with pure omega 3 fish oils can reduce the amount of nasty prostaglandins, which cause pain and inflammation.

Who’s it for? Women with several health problems benefit from a diet rich in fish. Omega 3s not only ease pain, but also relieve constipation and clean up clogged arteries. It’s ideal for people who have pain and heart disease or high cholesterol. You can take it with almost all medications and other supplements. Plus, it has a slight beneficial blood-thinning effect.

Fish oils also increase your skin’s suppleness − a cool bonus from these slimy critters. Look for better brands that meet or exceed pharmaceutical standards.

4. Worms
More specifically silkworms, but you don’t have to eat them! You’re looking for a supplement with the pain-busting extract serrapeptase, derived from worms.

When the silkworm emerges from hibernation as a moth, it produces an enzyme that breaks up the cocoon and works as an anti-inflammatory.

Who’s it for? Serrapeptase supplements help women suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis – pretty much any kind of “itis.”

The brand Vitalzym X works well because it combines serrapeptase with other natural anti-inflammatories. Vitalzym may also shrink fibroid cysts.

5. Green-Lipped Mussels (Perna Canaliculus)
You can eat the little guys if you want, but the pain-relieving quality comes from their extract.

Green-lipped mussels are popular in New Zealand, which explains why so few Kiwis have arthritis. The magic in the mussel lies in two primary ingredients: a natural antihistamine and omega 3 fatty acids, which calm inflammation. There’s also a little glucosamine present.

Who it can help: Women with asthma, multiple sclerosis and skin problems can benefit. Those with shellfish allergies will want to pass on them.

For other ways to relieve pain, look beyond your comfort zone: Consider hands-on healing: hypnosis, transcendental meditation, yoga, massage, chiropractic care and acupuncture. These are all non-drug alternatives that reduce pain chemicals and stress in the body.
Source: Lifescript

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