How do Analgesics Work?

What is an analgesic?

An analgesic is a medicine that relieves pain. You have probably heard of many different types, chief among them being ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin. Broadly speaking, there are two main categories of analgesics:

  • Non-opioid analgesics, such as the ones listed above
  • Opioid analgesics, such as They may also be used when mild pain relief isn't enough.

Since they are the most commonly used analgesics, we will focus on the first category, non-opioids.

Which analgesic should you choose?

Choosing which analgesic is most suitable to relieve your pain depend on the type and intensity of pain you’re experiencing. A headache, for example, is one of the most common types of pain, and paracetamol is often used to help provide relief. Similarly, a group of non-opioid analgesics, known as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), can relieve headaches as well as other types of pain. Ibuprofen is an example of an NSAID.

What happens when you feel pain?

Aches and pains can be caused in various ways, including twisting (torsion) and physical injury. When muscle tissue becomes damaged, chemicals known as prostaglandins are released in response to the injury. Prostaglandins have the ability to sensitise nerve endings, which results in the feeling of pain. If this process did not take place, you would not notice pain at all. The release of prostaglandins takes place

What happens when you take an analgesic, such as ibuprofen?

Most commonly used analgesics, such as ibuprofen, have the ability to help your body prevent the production of prostaglandins, thereby helping to relieve pain. They do this by inhibiting enzymes, known as cyclooxygenases (COX), which are involved in producing prostaglandins.

When the feeling of pain is reduced after you take an analgesic, it is called symptomatic relief, as it helps to stop the symptoms of the pain. But the analgesic does not affect the source of your pain. However, it is important for a child to feel a reduction in pain rather than understand the reasons behind it! Hence, some analgesics are recommended for children as well, but under a doctor’s guidance.

For fast and effective relief of pain, try an analgesic such as Nurofen Express. Its main active ingredient is ibuprofen, which can help relieve pain by targeting the muscles which are the source, helping to prevent prostaglandins from being produced. It is safe for children, so cheer up your child when he or she is in pain with Nurofen Express.