The Conversation

  • Written by Ric Day, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, UNSW

This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky!

I want to understand how pain medicine like Panadol works in our body. – Freddie, age 6, Melbourne.

In short, pain medicine is able to block the processes that cause the feeling of pain. To understand why, we need to explain a bit more about how pain works.

Pain happens when electrical signals travel from the spot where you hurt yourself up your nerves, to the spinal cord and then up to the brain.

When the pain signal gets to the brain, it lets your brain know there’s a big problem happening so we can respond.

So when we feel pain from a burnt hand, we quickly remove it from a fire. Or if a dog bites us, the pain tells us to run away.

So even though pain hurts, pain is important. It can protect us from more injury. Feeling no pain at all is actually quite dangerous.

Read more: Curious Kids: Do animals sleep like people? Do snails sleep in their shells?

But your question was about pain medicine like Panadol. Panadol is just one brand of medicine called paracetamol – there are a lot of different brands.

Inside our bodies, paracetamol is able to block the processes that cause the feeling of pain.

Paracetamol not only acts at the site of the pain (like your burnt hand or sore arm) but also in the brain where the pain is felt.

Read more: Curious Kids: Why don’t cats wear shoes?

Curious Kids: How does pain medicine work in the body? Paracetamol, and also other pain medicines such as ibuprofen (you might know it as Nurofen), block the formation of prostaglandins. Marcella Cheng/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

At the place where pain starts, such as a sore throat, a burnt finger or a broken arm, a lot of chemicals are made and released. These chemicals make you feel pain and also make your body send more blood flowing to the painful area. This is why the painful area is often red and swollen.

The extra blood flowing to the area includes white blood cells – special parts of our blood that fight disease. These white blood cells bring important chemicals. One of these chemicals goes by the name of “prostaglandin”. It increases pain and inflammation (swelling).

Paracetamol, and also other pain medicines such as ibuprofen (you might know it as Nurofen), stop your body from making prostaglandins.

When you swallow some paracetamol, it dissolves in your tummy and most of it is absorbed into your blood. The paracetamol then travels around the body to reach both the painful spot and your brain, where it then starts to reduce the feeling of pain.

Paracetamol is very safe if the dose taken over 24 hours (that’s one day and one night) is kept below a maximum amount. It is very important not to take too much paracetamol, as it can be very dangerous if you take too much.

So make sure to never, ever take paracetamol without being sure that the dose has been checked by an adult who has read the instructions on the box. Otherwise you could take too much and get very sick or even die.

Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to us. They can:

* Email your question to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au * Tell us on Twitter by tagging @ConversationEDU with the hashtag #curiouskids, or * Tell us on Facebook

Curious Kids: How does pain medicine work in the body? CC BY-ND Please tell us your name, age, and which city you live in. You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Send as many questions as you like! We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best.

Authors: Ric Day, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, UNSW

Read more http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-how-does-pain-medicine-work-in-the-body-82495


George Neophytou supports roads funding and more

Independent candidate for Gippsland East George Neophytou has pledged to support completion of duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale and to upgrading of the Sale alternative ...

Scott Morrison interview with Alan Jones

Belt and Road Initiative; Law and order in Victoria; Queensland infrastructure; Power prices; Paris Agreement; Immigration; Negative gearing.   ALAN JONES: Prime Minister, good morning.   PRIME ...

George Neophytou a real force to stop the Fingerboards Mine

George Neophytou a solicitor contesting the election as an Independent Candidate has been an activist against the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mine for over two years. His track record shows ability a...

Business News


Hussh . . . The Secret is Out Your exclusive invitation to 9 massive warehouse sales this week The secret to huge savings is shopping directly from the warehouses of Australia’s biggest wholesa...

Web Wisdom - Simple Ways to Increase Sales as an e-Commerce Website

The online marketplace is a virtual paradise for consumers who love a bargain. Today’s e-commerce has become so evolved that consumers not only have purchasing power, but they also can influence maj...

Digital marketing agencies are fudging the numbers and distorting the outcomes for their clients

Many digital marketing agencies manipulate reports to make themselves look good, offering vanity stats that really provide no benefit to their clients. One of the most common mistakes companies make...


Pet-Friendly Summer Destinations in NZ

No one wants to leave their pet at home and why should you have to? When it comes to traveling around in a campervan hire New Zealand, you may not want to live your precious animal back home. You shou...


DON’T GET SLUGGED WITH THE SIX-HUNDRED-DOLLAR CHRISTMAS TAX Revealed: traditional car rental companies charging 3.3 times more to rent a vehicle over Christmas A comparison of rental costs per day...

Looking for a Romantic Destination? Here’s Why the Philippines May Be Perfect for You

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/couple-man-woman-girl-guy-love-2585328/Perhaps, you want a spot to celebrate your honeymoon after several months of wedding planning. Or, maybe you are just loo...