Many people deal with chronic pain that is sometimes difficult to treat. When the pain interferes with your daily activities, it is time to look into a medication to treat it. These four types of medication include over-the-counter and prescription options that may help you.


Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid that can help to reduce chronic pain. It comes in small tubes and is often sold as an over-the-counter ointment. Doctors can also write prescriptions for a higher concentration of the active ingredient. This medication may be helpful for areas that are affected by inflammation, such as the shoulder. Hydrocortisone is effective against other inflammatory conditions also, such as the hives caused by poison ivy, oak and sumac.

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen sodium are a mainstay for treating chronic pain. These drugs are taken orally in the form of a capsule or tablet. They must be digested in part by your stomach acid to work, and it can take about an hour for you to notice some relief in your pain. These medications are effective against widespread pain, such as chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia or the many aches and pains you might feel after years of working at a physically demanding job.

Topical Pain Cream

Topical pain creams treat aches and pains in the soft tissues. These pain relievers act quickly because they are absorbed through your skin. Because the pain reliever does not have to be digested or travel all the way through your body, it can be more effective than an oral pain reliever at treating pain in a specific spot in the body. Some companies know how advantageous it is to relieve pain directly at the source.  A topical pain cream is a great option for chronic lower back pain, shoulder aches and chronic foot pain.


Capsaicin is the active ingredient that causes the “hotness” of a chili pepper. This ingredient can be applied topically or taken as a dietary supplement. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Many products include capsaicin, including thermal wraps, gels and lotions. The capsaicin produces a sensation of warmth, and it helps your muscles to relax.

You can try each of these pain relief strategies. Some can even be combined so that you can enjoy even more effective pain control. In addition to taking these medicines, you may want to try some other types of pain relief, such as breathing exercises and deep tissue massage that can help to lower your stress level.