By Ms. Lily Daniels (Regional Health Command Pacific)September 13, 2018
HONOLULU -- Pain Awareness Month is upon us, which brings up the question, "Why Motrin?" Ibuprofen is known by some of its commonly used brand names of Advil or Motrin, and seems to be the go-to prescription for a wide spectrum of ailments at military treatment facilities. It's also referred across the branches by its various nicknames of corpsman candy, ranger candy, 'vitamin m' and more.
Providing more insight and answering questions about ibuprofen is Dr. Diane Flynn, a primary care pain management advisor at Madigan Army Medical Center's Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Q: Why is ibuprofen commonly prescribed for pain?
A: Ibuprofen, which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent, is often prescribed for pain because it is often effective for a wide range of pain conditions such as muscle and joint pain due to injury or overuse, back pain or headache.
Q: What are the benefits to using ibuprofen versus something else?
A: Some of the benefits of ibuprofen is that it's widely available, relatively inexpensive and not habit forming.
Q: What are the risks of ibuprofen?
A: Ibuprofen can cause irritation of the stomach lining which can be serious. It can also increase the risk of heart disease and kidney disease in people at risk. It is important not to take more ibuprofen than recommended on the label of the medication bottle.
Q: What's ibuprofen's role in the big picture of pain management?
A: Ibuprofen can be very effective for acute pain conditions and can often completely eliminate pain. However, for chronic pain (pain that has been present for three or more months), ibuprofen, like other medicines, plays a small role in the big picture of pain management.
In general, medications decrease chronic pain intensity by 20 to 30 percent. The more important approaches to chronic pain management include self-management therapies like remaining physically active, sleeping well, eating a healthy diet and stress management approaches, such as mindfulness, meditation and behavioral health therapies.
Q: In what circumstances should service members seek out alternative pain treatments?
A: Service members should seek medical care if they have pain that limits their ability to perform their daily activities so that other treatments including complementary and alternative treatments can be considered.
Editor's Note: This is the first in a three-part series of stories by Regional Health Command-Pacific about pain management in honor of Pain Awareness Month.