The Ultimate Guide to Pain Relief For Dancers

If there’s a drug that can take all the pain away in a snap without introducing any side effect, we would all be happy and there will be no need for healthcare experts. This is not the case, though, which is why it’s best to consult your doctor first before ingesting any drug.

Painkillers or analgesics aren’t any different. They have their own side effects, no matter how mild they may be. It doesn’t matter if they’re prescribed or you’re able to obtain them over the counter. The important thing is to know how they work in relieving muscle pains and other kinds of inflammation.

Dancers and similar professionals often use analgesics to relieve muscle pain after a strenuous performance. With this, they have higher chances of suffering from long-term complications from regularly ingesting analgesics. How each variant works differently from the other, how each one affects the body, and when they should be used are some of the points these people often miss in using painkillers.

Each one of us has a different reaction to varying degrees of pain.

Similarly, our bodies also respond differently from the drugs we’re taking to relieve pain. Some of us may experience a different side effect from another one who regularly takes analgesics; some may not even experience any side effect at all.
The goal of this article is to enrich your knowledge on the different types of pain relievers, their side effects, how they can be combined with other drugs, and when they’re most effective to use.

How to Manage Pain without the Aid of Drugs?

Before you ingest any analgesic, it’s best if you try natural methods first that can relieve muscle pains. Here are some of the most commonly used methods to alleviate muscle pain without ingesting drugs and similar pain-relievers.

  • Get a massage, an acupuncture, or go to a reflexologist
  • Relax and enjoy the comfort of aromatherapy
  • Distract yourself from thinking about the pain
  • Take a hot/cold shower
  • Undergo TENS or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
  • Perform the Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation (RICE) method

Know the Cause of Pain

Before taking in any medication, it’s important to know the cause of your muscle pains. The quickest and surest way to treat any injury is to identify the cause of pain.
Analgesics and other pain-relievers are only temporary solutions. They can be easily obtained and they’re quick acting but all they can do is mask the pain for a certain amount of time.

The same thing goes even for the stronger, prescription analgesics.
These quick-relief solutions are helpful if you have to perform for a show. However, it’s not good to depend on them as part of your long-term solution to remove the pain. Ignoring the pain for a long time prevents your body from naturally healing your muscles and worsens your overall condition in the long run.

There are many factors to consider when treating an injury. The input of your physiotherapist will usually involve proper rest and execution of exercises focused on rehabilitation. Pain relievers may also be used but they’re typically recommended only when the pain is intolerable.

Pain Killers that Matter

Below are the most effective analgesics meant to relieve pain from your aching muscles after dancing.


The maximum dose for adults
4g daily or 1g to be taken 4 times a day.

Paracetamol is widely available in drug stores and convenience stores everywhere. They are over-the-counter medications, meaning you don’t have to present a prescription to buy the drug.

Paracetamol is usually an ingredient found in drugs made to treat coughs and flu. It is also an antipyretic drug which means it can reduce the temperature of the one who’s ingesting it.

Take only a single dosage of paracetamol at a time to avoid getting overdosed. Paracetamol overdose can result in irreversible damage to the liver and may even cause death in some instances. Besides, ingesting more than the recommended amount has little effect on the efficiency of the drug due to the ceiling effect.

Paracetamol is also used to increase the potency of other analgesics and codeine derivatives.

Side effects
Paracetamol is relatively safe compared to other medications but it can damage your kidneys and liver if you take too much of it.



Co-proxamol is a low-dose version of paracetamol mixed together with another codeine-based drug called dextropropoxyphene. This drug has pain-relieving strength similar to that of an ordinary paracetamol but shows a higher chance of getting you overdosed. This drug has been withdrawn from being sold in the UK.

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

The maximum dose for adults
The allowed dosage depends on the type of NSAID you’re taking.

Ibuprofen is the most popular NSAID on the market. It is widely available and can be purchased over the counter without presenting any prescription.

Below is a list of NSAIDs available on the market. Their proprietary versions are also listed inside the brackets.

  • Aspirin
  • Ketoprofen (Orudis)
  • Ibuprofen (Nurofen)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Rofecoxib (Vioxx)
  • Naproxen (Arthroxen, Naprosyn)
  • Diclofenac Sodium (Voltarol)
  • Indometacin
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene, Brexidol)
  • Mefenamic Acid (Ponstan)

NSAIDs are known to have a negative effect on the body’s process of healing bone fractures, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re in this situation. Also, avoid taking in ibuprofen if you have asthma.

Side effects
NSAIDs can cause diarrhea, irritated stomach, ulcer, kidney damage, nausea, and sometimes bleeding.

NSAIDs are available in different forms aside from oral tablets. They can be found in forms like suppositories, topical gels, and injections.


NSAID gels

NSAIDs are useful in treating inflammations like arthritis, muscle strains, and tendonitis. They may even be more potent than opioids in these instances. NSAIDs are best taken regularly as long as the inflammation persists.

Different forms of NSAIDs shouldn’t be taken all at once. An oral NSAID absorbed by the body shouldn’t be compounded with another NSAID applied topically as this will increase the chance of side effects to manifest.

Too much NSAID in the body can cause stomach irritation and bleeding. People who are prescribed to ingest NSAIDs for longer periods are usually given another drug to counteract the damaging effect of NSAIDs on the stomach. These counteracting drugs can be administered as a separate tablet, although there are some that are already combined with NSAIDs. One example is Napratec which is a combination of misoprostol as the drug that protects the stomach and naproxen which is an NSAID.


COX-2 inhibitors

COX-2 inhibitor is a specific type of NSAID obtainable only through prescription. Celecoxib, meloxicam, and rofecoxib are the most popular variants of this type. These variants have fewer side effects on the stomach compared to other NSAIDs.

Recent studies show, though, that rofecoxib increases the chance of a patient to experience cardiac problems. With this, concerns that the other variants may have similar side effects have been raised to the pharmaceutical community.


The maximum dose for adults
Maximum of 4g only every day. Aspirin tablets are available in dosages from 300mg to 900mg. It can be taken in every 4 to 6 hours each day.

Aspirin is a mild pain reliever, much like paracetamol. It can also be used to bring down the temperature of someone with fever. It should not be administered, though, to people who have ulcer or asthma, or anyone who is under anti-inflammatory treatment.

Aspirin is used more as a blood thinner rather than a pain reliever. Its ability to reduce blood clots has been found to be very useful on people who have a heart problem.

Side effects
Aspirin seldom shows side effects in patients. Although rare, its side effects include ulcer, irritation of the stomach, and reduced blood clotting. It can also cause asthma attacks to those who have a history of asthma.



The maximum dose for adults
The maximum dosage depends on the type of opioid you’re using.

Opioids were used to be made from the opium poppy. They exhibit properties similar to that of codeine (tramadol) and pethidine (morphine). Opioids are best known for treating chronic pain instead of pain from acute injuries. They lack the anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory properties that other analgesics have.

The weakest opioids available are found in the form of dihydrocodeine and codeine phosphate. These drugs are the only forms available for over-the-counter purchase and may be taken together with paracetamol without worrying about side effects.

Opioids can induce constipation which is why laxatives are usually prescribed alongside them to counteract the constipating effect.

Side effects
Nausea, constipation, drowsiness, vomiting, and itching are some of the side effects of opioids. Larger doses of this drug can introduce respiratory depression and can also cause the blood pressure to drop.


Tips for Taking Analgesics

Whether you’re experiencing a serious ankle injury or a mild headache, remember to take the analgesic that gives you the least number of side effects.
If ingesting paracetamol occasionally does not help you ease the pain, you may try drinking it regularly.

Taking a gram every six hours is still acceptable. The continuous administration of the drug helps create a constant stream of pain-relieving elements in your body.
If the pain persists even after constantly taking in paracetamol, you may try taking NSAID when you feel extreme pain. If this is still not working, try regularly ingesting NSAID together with paracetamol.

Ibuprofen can also be replaced with strong NSAIDs or weak opioids like codeine if the pain still persists. If you’re taking a paracetamol-opioid solution such as co-dydramol, stop taking singular tablets of paracetamol.
If all the above medications still fail to relive you of intolerable pain, it’s best to consult your doctor.


Pain relievers should be ingested only as prescribed. Just like any other medicine, you have to read the package insert or the bottle label to determine the frequency and dosage of administration. Children are usually prescribed with lower doses which their bodies can handle.

Ingesting more than the recommended dosage of any drug is not only dangerous but also ineffective. The logic that drinking more than prescribed will double the drug’s potency is seriously flawed.
When ingesting any kind of drug, no matter how safe it is, it’s always better to be cautious. If you experience any side effect or having trouble taking in your medication, it’s best to consult your doctor and seek their professional advice.

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