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Over-the-Counter Pain Remedies and Parkinson’s: What Helps with Pain?

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Updated July 01, 2009

Question: Over-the-Counter Pain Remedies and Parkinson’s: What Helps with Pain?
Answer: After you talk to your doctor, they might tell you to take Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), or aspirin.

If you are experiencing minor aches and pains as part of your Parkinson's disease consider these other remedies first:

  • Tell your Parkinson's disease physician about the pains you are feeling and whether adjusting your PD medications might help.
  • Exercise. Most persistent pains in PD are due to the motor problems associated with the disorder. If you alleviate those motor problems (and you can) the troubling aches and pains should diminish. Start an exercise regimen (after consulting with your doctor) so as to prevent aches and pains due to immobility.

Sometimes over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) or minor analgesics will help these minor aches and pains due to immobility, stiffness and rigidity. Ask your doctor and pharmacist about these drugs before taking them.

Parkinson's Pain Can be Linked to Depression

If NSAIDS, exercise and adjusting your medications does not help, ask yourself and your doctor if depression is present. Treating the depression may help to diminish any persistent pains. If depression is not present or if the pains persist after treating the depression, then you may want to consider seeing a pain specialist before taking over-the-counter remedies. Pain control specialists have a whole armamentarium of pain control treatments and techniques from special medications to special surgical procedures, that are known to be effective.

Sources:

Ford, B. and Pfeiffer, R.F. (2005). Pain syndromes and disorders of sensation. In: Parkinson’s Disease and nonmotor dysfunction. R.F. Pfeiffer and I. Bodis-Wollner (Eds). Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey. Pps. 255-270.

Drake DF, Harkins S, Qutubuddin A (2005) Pain in Parkinson's disease: Pathology to treatment, medication to deep brain stimulation. NeuroReb 20:335 341.

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