Aspirin is a form of medication which has several uses. It has an analgesic (pain-reducing) effect similar to paracetamol and also at higher doses, an anti-inflammatory effect, similar to Ibuprofen.
What is Aspirin Used for?
Stretching the back of the shoulder can be effective in rotator cuff injuries and also when the muscles of the upper back and neck are tight.
Aspirin can be used for a number of problems or conditions. most commonly it is used as a painkiller which will help to reduce the mild to moderate pain associated with conditions such as headaches, toothache, and period pain.
Aspirin can also be used as an anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to relieve pain from musculoskeletal injuries such as ankle sprains and muscle strains. However, to gain these anti-inflammatory effects a high dose must be taken. Due to the associated side-effects, other NSAID's such as Ibuprofen are usually recommended instead.
On a completely different level, one side effect of a low dose of aspirin is that it reduces the stickiness of platelets in the blood. For this reason it can be used in those with coronary heart disease and blood vessel conditions to help reduce the risk of blood clots.
How Does It Work?
Apirin works by reducing the production of chemicals called Prostaglandins. It is these chemicals which are relased into the body in response to injury or illness, resulting in pain.
What Are the Side Effects of Aspirin?
Common side effects of aspirin include nausea, vomiting and indegestion. These are usually mild and not long lasting.
Rare side effects may include:
- Allergic reactions
- Duodenal or gastric ulcers
- Fluid retention
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach),
- Haematemesis (vomiting blood)
- Increased bleeding, e.g. cuts/nosebleeds bleeding for longer
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
People with asthma may have a reaction to aspirin. This only occurs in around 10% of asthma patients and in most cases aspirin does not cause any problems. However, if you are not sure if you should take aspirin, speak to your doctor or try a different form of medication.
Those with stomach ulcers are usually recommended not to take aspirin as this may cause further bleeding and irritation of the stomach lining.
Similarly those with hemophilia (a disorder causing a lack of blood clotting) are advised not to take aspirin as it further thins the blood and reduces the chance of clotting when bleeding from cuts, impacts, nosebleeds etc.
If you are already taking any other form of medication, always check with your Doctor that it is ok to also take aspirin. Do not take aspirin with any other form of anti-inflammatory, or medications also containing aspirin.
Aspirin is also not suitable for children under the age of 16 and breastfeeding mothers. It can be used in low doses in the first 6 months of pregnancy.