Yesterday I was carrying an armful of laundry down to the basement and slipped. I bounced down three stairs on my tailbone. Yikes!!! I'll get an x ray later today to see if it is broken, but in the meantime I needed something for the swelling and pain. What should I take? Acetaminophen or ibuprofen? When it really comes down to it, those are our two choices. There are lots of brand names for acetaminophen, like Tylenol and Excedrin. Then there are NSAIDs, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin.

First, make sure you read the warnings for both, and don't blow them off! About 500 Americans die from Acetaminophen overdoses every year. It has been linked to liver toxicity and should not be taken with alcohol. If you've been drinking, don't take Tylenol before going to bed to avoid a hangover, you could seriously damage your liver! Ibuprofen is capable of causing gastrointestinal bleeding and you shouldn't take it if you have any kidney issues. That said, relief is on the way if you use these products properly.

Ibuprofen: An anti-inflammatory that works well for back pain and arthritis as well as tension headaches and cramps. The con is that it is not safe for babies and is discouraged for anyone under 18 because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Overall, Ibuprofen gives you more bang for your buck, but it also slightly raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Acetaminophen: This is the most widely used pain reliever in the world, but it has no anti-inflammatory properties so it's limited in the kind of pain relief it can bring. It is a safer option for youngsters though.

There are also many, many naturopathic treatments for treating pain and swelling. Check out this site for suggestions.

That last step was a doozie.

Celeste