Types of Medications Commonly Taken by Patients

Pain Medication

Some examples of pain medication are oxycodone, motrin, and codeine.  When you experience pain, the nerves in the body send a signal to the brain so you perceive pain.  Pain medications decrease pain by slowing down or blocking the pain signal to your brain.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

The most common NSAID is aspirin.  Prostagladins are synthesized by cyclooxygenase to cause inflammation.  By taking a NSAID, it inhibits cyclooxgenase.  This prevents this cycle from taking place, causing decreased pain/inflammation.  There are COX1 and COX2 enzymes and aspirin inhibits both.  COX1 enzymes help to protect the stomach and kidney lining.  Therefore, a side effect to taking aspirin is gastric damage and decreased renal function.

Muscle Relaxants

Examples of muscle relaxants are baclofen, flexeril, and skelaxin. Muscle relaxants are used to treat muscle spasm and spasticity.  They are used to decrease muscle excitability by acting on the spinal cord or directly within the muscle fiber. Muscle relaxants increase the activity of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) receptors, which inhibit excitatory neurons. This causes the skeletal muscle to receive fewer signals and relax.

All the above medications are commonly taken while receiving physical therapy.  They help the patient to progress through physical therapy by alleviating pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm.  These medications should be regulated by a physician to insure proper dosage and duration of usage.