Pain relief

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First aid

Hand injuries hurt. A few simple steps will help reduce the pain.

Rest the hand to stop movement at the site of injury.

Put an ice pack (or bag of peas) in a tea towel and apply to the injured area for 20 minutes every few hours. 

Lift the hand above the level of the heart to get the swelling down and stop throbbing pain.

Unless told otherwise, you can take paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief. Consider staggering when you take them through the day.

Remove any rings and jewellery from the fingers and hand.

Which pain killer?

Pain after a hand injury is usually related to inflammation and swelling. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are the best pain killers for this pain. 

Paracetamol

The usual dose for adults is one or two tablets (500 mg) up to 4 times in 24 hours. This is a maximum of eight 500mg tablets in 24 hours. 

It can take an hour to start working. It is safe during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding at the recommended dose.
 
Overdosing on paracetamol causes very serious side effects. Do not increase the dose if your pain continues. 
 
Own brand supermarket paracetamol is much cheaper than the big brands and works just as well.  
 

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) along with others such as naproxen and diclofenac.

The usual dose for adults is one or two 200 mg tablets three times in 24 hours. This is a maximum of six 200 mg tablets in 24 hours. 

A gel form is available that can be directly applied to skin.

It can take 20-30 minutes to start working. It is not recommended during pregnancy unless your doctor approves.

Ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and should never be taken on an empty stomach.

Own brand supermarket ibuprofen is much cheaper than the big brands and works just as well. Aspirin is another type of NSAID but is not usually prescribed as a pain killer. 

Find out about ibuprofen for adults
Find out about ibuprofen for children

Codeine

Codeine phosphate is a medium-strength pain killer. It works best when taken in combination with another pain killer, usually paracetamol (co-codamol). 

The lowest strength co-codamol (8 mg codeine / 500 mg paracetamol) is available over the counter. Stronger formulations need to be prescribed. 

It is important not to take the combination drug with paracetamol as it can cause an overdose.

Find out about codeine for adults
Find out about codeine for children

Author: Matthew D Gardiner
Review: Matthew D. Gardiner
Created: 15th July 2020
Next review: 14th July 2020

Disclaimer
As a service to our readers, My Injured Hand provides information on conditions. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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