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Health Tips / Treatment - Medicines

Non-prescription Treatments

The non-prescription medicines used in the immediate treatment of sports injuries include anti-inflamatory medicines (NSAIDs), both oral and topical, and pain-killing medicines (analgesics).

Anti-inflammatory medicines
Short term treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are useful in reducing inflammation and treating pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines are available both as oral tablet and as topical preparations.

Ibuprofen is often recommended. However those allergic to aspirin, with a history of, or current stomach ulcer or other gastrointestinal disease, or those taking anticoagulant medication should not take ibuprofen. Those who are pregnant, elderly or have asthma should seek the advice of their medical practitioner.

Ibuprofen is also available in a liquid formulation for children, dosage dependent on age.

Aspirin has both anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties and is suitable for adults only. Ibuprofen is preferred to aspirin as an anti-inflammatory medicine, in the treatment of sports injuries. The contra-indications are similar to ibuprofen. Aspirin is available in a number of medicinal products, on its own or combined with either caffeine, codeine, or paracetmol, (ANADIN, ANADIN EXTRA,  DISPRIN, DISPRIN EXTRA, BAYER ASPIRIN

Short term topical application of NSAIDs (Voltarol, DICLAC, FELDENE TOPIGEL) may be used separately or in conjunction with oral tablets. These are usually applied three times daily and provide a more localised effect, avoiding some of the side effects caused by oral administration such as stomach upset. Aspirin sensitive or asthmatic individuals or those with eczema should avoid their use. Topical NSAIDs should never be used on broken skin. The gel or cream should be rubbed in well after application. Do not cover the skin with bandages or dressings afterwards.

For further details, check our online drugs in sport section

Pain-killers are sometimes used by those who are unable to take anti-inflammatories . In these cases, paracetamol is often recommended.

Paracetamol has only analgesic activity and does not have any anti-inflammatory properties. It is less irritating to the stomach than aspirin or ibuprofen.  Paracetamol is available on its own or in combination with caffeine, diphenhydramine or aspirin, as PANADOL, PANADOL EXTRA, PANADOL NIGHT, PARALIEF,  HEDEX, TRAMIL and ANADIN PARACETAMOL. Your pharmacist will be able to advise on the most suitable formulation for your condition. 

Alternative Therapies
Arnica, available in tablets, creams, lotions and massage balms is widely used as an aid to the healing process. The topical preparations should not be used on broken skin. Care should also be taken that the products do not stain the skin.


Further information on the medicines listed above including dosages and contra-indications are available at

For serious injury always consult your doctor or physiotherapist. 
To find a Chartered Physiotherapist in your area check

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Last update: 16/05/2013 12:38 • Previous update: 30/11/-0001 00:00