Which ADVIL is the most EFFECTIVE?

by | Jan 27, 2016 | New this month, Yoga Therapy

I teach a FREE! Public Pain Care class on the last Wednesday of each month, and today is our first installment into 2016 class series. Yesterday I posted this question on Facebook to introduce people to one of the corner-stone principles of PAIN CARE SCIENCE:

Which ADVIL tablet you think is the MOST EFFECTIVE:

a) 400mg transparent capsule with coloured beads inside
b)400mg transparent capsule with white beads inside
c) 400mg coloured tablet
d) 400mg white square tablet
e) 400mg white round table

What do you think?

How does your answer compare to those of your peers?
To the opinion of a medical professional?
What does PAIN SCIENCE tell us about the effectiveness of any given medication?

Facebook pole showed that for most people option B – a transparent capsule with white beads inside – works the best. Many have said that it offers the best absorption, and that drug delivery methods alter the effectiveness of medication. True to my nerdy-nosey nature, I asked the specialist. Dr. Lyddell is a rheumatologist, muscle-skeletal specialist with an interest in chronic pain. He says: ”While delivery methods matter for certain drugs, in this particular case they are absolutely all the same in terms of absorption.”

So what’s the difference between A, B, C, D and E? Is there any?

This is, of course, a trick question.


Because, as you probably noticed, the amount of active ingredient (400 mg) is the same in all of the above, and, as we now know, the absorption levels are the same across the board.

So which one is the most effective then?

The one YOU BELIEVE is the most effective. Research shows that for most people A is slightly more effective then B; B is slightly more effective then C and so it goes. [bctt tweet=”Just like PAIN itself, PAIN RELIEF is not exactly logical.”]

This question (as of course most of what we do in Pain Care Yoga) is truly mind bending because it challenges our beliefs about pain, and also what we think is true for our bodies. In fact we can call it the biology of belief.

PAIN SCIENCE tells us that pain is always subjective. More than that, pain relies on context of any particular situation, on your current emotional state, as well as your beliefs and fears. And while nothing is absolute, cutting edge PAIN RESEARCH tells us that [bctt tweet=”it is the brain that decides whether something hurts, or not, 100% of the time, with NO exceptions.”]

Hey, my name is Julia

Living with chronic pain has taught me to look for solutions in unlikely places –  places where most people see only problems.

Over the years I’ve gotten to be pretty good at this problem-solving and silver-lining finding thing.

So good that I felt compelled to share what I’ve learned and help others to find their sea legs while navigating, living, and winning their battle with chronic pain.