What is the Best Pain Medication for Broken Bones?


Broken bones are a common injury that can cause significant pain and discomfort. Pain management is an important part of treating broken bones, and finding the right pain medication is crucial for effective treatment. There are several types of pain medications that can be used for broken bones, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Types of Pain Medications for Broken

Bones Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation caused by broken bones. They work by reducing the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. Common types of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. NSAIDs can be taken orally or applied topically, and they are generally safe for short-term use. However, they can cause side effects such as stomach upset, heartburn, and stomach ulcers.


Acetaminophen is another common pain medication that is often used to treat pain caused by broken bones. It works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the brain that cause pain. Acetaminophen is generally safe for short-term use, and it does not cause the stomach upset or ulcers associated with NSAIDs. However, it can be toxic to the liver in high doses, so it is important to follow the recommended dosage.


Opioids are strong pain medications that are often prescribed for severe pain caused by broken bones. They work by binding to certain receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals. Common types of opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Opioids are effective for managing severe pain, but they can be addictive and have several side effects, such as constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. They should only be used under the supervision of a doctor and for a short period of time.

Topical Analgesics

Topical analgesics are pain medications that are applied directly to the skin. They can be effective for treating localized pain caused by broken bones. Common types of topical analgesics include lidocaine and capsaicin. Topical analgesics are generally safe and have few side effects, but they may not be as effective as other types of pain medications.

Which Pain Medication is Best for Broken Bones?

Choosing the best pain medication for a broken bone depends on several factors, including the severity and location of the injury, the patient’s medical history, and any other medications they may be taking. In general, NSAIDs and acetaminophen are the first line of treatment for mild to moderate pain caused by broken bones. Opioids may be necessary for severe pain, but they should be used with caution and only under the supervision of a doctor.

Other Pain Management Strategies for Broken Bones

In addition to pain medication, there are several other strategies that can be used to manage pain caused by broken bones. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is a common treatment that can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Physical therapy can help improve range of motion and prevent stiffness, and surgery may be necessary for severe or complex fractures.


Pain management is an important part of treating broken bones, and finding the right pain medication is crucial for effective treatment. NSAIDs and acetaminophen are generally safe and effective for mild to moderate pain, while opioids may be necessary for severe pain. However, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine the best pain management strategy for each individual case.

Overall, managing pain caused by broken bones is an essential part of the recovery process. While pain medication is a common treatment, it is important to use it appropriately and under the guidance of a medical professional. Other pain management strategies, such as RICE and physical therapy, can also be effective in reducing pain and improving mobility. By working with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment, individuals with broken bones can minimize their pain and achieve a full recovery.


  1. “Management of acute pain from non-low back, musculoskeletal injuries: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized trials” by Roger Chou et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 2020. 2. “Pain management in trauma: A review study” by Mohammadreza Modaresi et al., Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 2020.
  1. “Pain Management for Fractures” by Michael P. Cannella et al., Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2019.
  2. “Acetaminophen (paracetamol) versus placebo for pain management in adults with acute fractures” by Emma J. Tavender et al., The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2020.