The Only 4 Painkillers You Need to Stockpile For SHTF

By Rebecca November 20, 2018 07:38

The Only 4 Painkillers You Need to Stockpile For SHTF

When you’re in a SHTF situation, the last thing you need to deal with is pain on top of everything else. From increased activity that most of us aren’t used to—chopping wood, traveling by foot, and tending to a full-scale garden, for starters—to lack of medical treatment if a new injury occurs or an old injury is aggravated, having effective painkillers in your stockpile is a must for any prepper.

The bad news is that obtaining painkillers from a doctor (especially for a “just in case” situation) is almost impossible, because most painkillers are considered controlled substances under federal law.

Because of their addictive nature, most doctors only prescribe these medications when necessary; so, if you do get a prescription for a Schedule II or Schedule III painkiller, it’s likely that your injuries were so serious that you needed the entire prescription and would not have had any left to keep for a SHTF scenario.

Some preppers try to circumvent prescription restrictions by ordering medications online. Because these sellers are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, taking these types of medications can be dangerous.

Without regulations, consumers can never be certain what kind of nasty surprise ingredients might be lurking in their pills.

The good news is that there are effective and inexpensive over-the-counter medications that you can easily stockpile for a worst-case scenario. Readily available at most pharmacies, these medications can tackle just about any type of pain:


Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter medication that can help relieve many types of pain and a variety of pain-related symptoms. This wonder drug can help you eradicate pain from toothaches, headaches, arthritis, and muscle aches related to the common cold or flu.

Additionally, because ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) it can help alleviate fevers and swelling, in addition to pain.

Ibuprofen can also be used in conjunction with other medications to maximize pain relief. A recent study reported in the American Family Physician Journal found that ibuprofen plus acetaminophen was just as effective in relieving extremity pain as three different commonly used opioid and acetaminophen combinations.

The recommended dosage for ages 12 years and older is 400 milligrams every four to six hours as needed. It’s always best to take ibuprofen with food, as it can be an irritant on an empty stomach.

Related: Top 30 Over-the-Counter Meds to Stockpile


Acetaminophen (known as paracetamol in Europe) treats the same types of pain that ibuprofen does—headaches, toothaches, backaches, muscle aches, and others—but in a different way. This drug belongs to a class of medications called analgesics (pain relievers) and antipyretics (fever reducers).

While it is great for pain, unlike ibuprofen acetaminophen doesn’t target swelling and inflammation. On the other hand, acetaminophen is less irritating to your digestive system; if you are someone who suffers from ulcers, for instance, you may want to try acetaminophen first.

A word of caution: according to Harvard Health Publishing, over 600 different types of medication contain some amount of acetaminophen, and overdoses can easily occur when combining tablets with other common medications such as cough or cold medicines.

It is recommended that adults not exceed 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period, to avoid damage to the liver and overdose risk.


Aspirin has some of the benefits of both ibuprofen and acetaminophen; it’s great for reducing fever, swelling, and pain from a variety of conditions such as headaches and the common cold.

In addition to being a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug aspirin belongs to a class of drugs called salicylates, which block natural substances in your body to reduce pain. The use of salicylates (which are derived from willow bark) dates back to 400 BCE when the Ancient Greeks chewed willow bark for pain relief.

As the most commonly used drug in the world, the wide availability of aspirin makes it an easy medication to add to your emergency preparations. Another reason aspirin is a great medication for your stockpile is that research suggests low doses can prevent blood clots, thereby reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

However, not everyone can take aspirin; children, hemophiliacs and those with conditions of the digestive system should avoid taking it.


Lidocaine is another wonderful multi-purpose over-the-counter drug. It has many uses, comes in many different forms, and is available under a variety of brand names. As a local anesthetic, lidocaine prevents pain by blocking the signals at the nerve endings in the skin.

As such, it provides fast and long-lasting pain relief; according to WoundSource (the definitive source of wound care information for professionals) within four minutes of application sensation is reduced, and the effects can last up to six hours depending on the dosage, making it ideal for reducing pain in a wound.

Lidocaine viscous topical treatment is great for sore mouths or throats. In its topical ointment or jelly forms it can be applied just about anywhere externally, causing numbness to combat the pain associated with minor burns, insect stings, poison ivy, poison oak, and cuts.

Other Over-The-Counter Medications For Pain In SHTF

  • Pain-relieving patches and gels
  • Sunburn relief spray
  • Burn cream
  • Stomach pain relief products
  • Children’s ibuprofen/acetaminophen

Expiration Dates?

While all of these medications are great options for pain relief, they lose their efficacy over time: these painkillers don’t “expire,” but they do weaken.

If the medications are stored improperly, or exposed to too much moisture, the decrease in their effectiveness will accelerate. To ensure that your painkillers are at their best, keep them stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and avoid exposing them to moisture.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You can reduce your likelihood of painful injuries in SHTF situations by becoming more active and beginning to do the activities—such as chopping wood, walking long distances, and carrying heavy objects—now so that the possibility of injury later is reduced.

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By Rebecca November 20, 2018 07:38
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  1. dick November 20, 16:24

    Apparently the person who wrote this has never had REAL pain. The meds listed are good if you over do it in the garden or chop too much wood, but if you are really hurt, they are absolutely worthless. You only need one med, Oxycodone, as long as you are not allergic.

    Reply to this comment
    • Beth November 20, 17:02

      Didn’t miss the point – in the situation described, good luck getting a prescription for your Oxycodone. Here in WV, when I was found on the hood of my car after going through seatbelt and windshield, I was told to take Advil. The combo mentioned of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is VERY effective, and you can have those on hand in quantity.

      Reply to this comment
    • Shannon November 20, 20:03

      Acetaminophen binds to the same receptors as narcotics and is often used to enhance them (Vicodin/Norco, Percocet, codeine, etc.).
      Following surgery, I was on Percocet for a week or two and then ibuprofen – could I have done it without, sure, but it would have hurt more. It definitely has its place, but in terms of something that you can stock, oxycodone is not that thing.
      If you have a healthy liver, Tylenol all the way for arthritis, bone/joint pain, and other pains.
      For sprains, aches, cramps, etc. and no bleeding or ulcer issues, Ibuprofen.
      Lidocaine can be used topically or as nerve blocks in the hands of someone who knows how to do that… very effective at managing pain.

      Reply to this comment
      • Dr November 22, 16:41

        Acetaminophen does not bind to the opiate receptor!

        Reply to this comment
        • SusieDancer November 26, 05:30

          Interesting that our bodies are created with opiate and cannibis receptors. Gifts from mother nature. There are no receptors for Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Thanks Doc.

          Reply to this comment
          • Energetic1 December 7, 01:25

            Nature doesn’t grow Acetaminaphen or Ibuprofen! Nature grows opium poppies and cannibis plants.

            Plant some poppies and some cannibus and you are all set for pain relievers.

            Reply to this comment
      • Selene December 4, 16:53

        Um, I’m an RN & I just want to say that the “lidocaine” the author is referring to, the only kind you can get OTC, is NOT for injection & should never be used in such a way since there are other ingredients in the OTC lidocaine type meds that are not suitable for injection…I mean they will cause injury if injected.
        Also, as a chronic pain patient I can tell you that it is very, VERY different to acute pain. The quality, intensity, duration & effect on the physical body of a person with chronic pain is not the same as that of a person whose pain is from an acute injury or illness. Therefore, I have to agree with the OP that some stockpiling of stronger meds is necessary. Do I think those “stronger meds” must of necessity be opioids? No. Many states that have legalized marijuana are allowing the rest of the country to get a good look at how effective the plant is for controlling pain without the potential for addiction or overdose. What about the rest of us in states without the good sense to legalize what the Good Lord put on earth for us to use? Keep lobbying your representatives! Blessings

        Reply to this comment
    • Spike November 22, 02:18

      My doctor directed me to take 3 or 4 max Ibuprofens at a time as long as you adhere to 1 tablet/2 hours dosage…otherwise 4 tablets=8 hours. I get better relief from this than Hydrocodone. I seldom do the 4 tablets because it is that much harder on your stomach but I always take 3 tablets because 2 don’t cut it. I also take Tumeric/black pepper and usually one 3 tablet dose of Ibuprofen gets me through those bad days though I occasionally take 9 tablets over 3 doses.

      Reply to this comment
    • Steve December 1, 04:26

      Oxycodone is a controlled pain killer prescribed by a doctor. You won’t be able to “stock up” on these prescribed types of pain killers for a possible SHTF event. You need the over the counter type pain killers for your SHTF medical supply kit. It’s likely doctors and pharmacies won’t be available readily in any SHTF event.

      Reply to this comment
    • Summerday January 20, 21:35

      I think in shtf moment you are going to feel some or a lot of pain it’s going to suck it will make use appreciate how lucky we had it,you may not die and you may wish you did but if you pull through you will be a stronger person but at the time you are in pain all that’s going to be bu!!shit.

      Reply to this comment
  2. threeddoggal November 20, 16:46

    You can order all the antibiotics you need from a Pet supply catalog, like

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck November 21, 01:43

      Antibiotics are not pain modifiers. Antibiotics are to kill bacterial infections. This article was describing pain modifiers that are available without a prescription.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Lin November 20, 17:16

    White willow bark and wild lettuce. In capsules and loose leaf (tea). You can also grow your own. Antibiotics and antiviral herbs are plentiful like garlic and parsley. There are multiple types of herbs for pain relief and for sickness. Nice thing about them is when SHTF you can grow your own. Recommend getting herbal medicine books (hard copy).

    Reply to this comment
    • Chronic pain sux November 20, 19:27

      I heart you, Lin! And, I agree. If you know what you’re doing, these are the best! If you don’t know – the first step of prepping is always learning!

      I can’t take nsaids (those are what’s mentioned, in the op, for those who don’t know). They have already screwed up my stomach lining & damaged my liver. Take heed! Combining acetaminophen and ibuprofen is what did that, to me!

      Reply to this comment
      • Mandy November 25, 05:05

        I can’t take NSAIDs either. I take MSM in the powder form as a natural anti-inflammatory. I get about a 3 years supply at a time and don’t see any sign of a decrease in effectiveness. It is the difference between livable back pain and numbness, possible falls and back surgery. Highly recommend it. Haven’t seen any long term side affects when I researched it.

        Reply to this comment
      • Retta December 1, 13:00

        Same here. I had a liver transplant this year and cannot take any OTC pain medications. I was discharged with a limited amount of Tramadol. I cannot take any natural remedies according to my transplant team.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Prepper In Training November 20, 18:35

    I would also add horse liniment to that list. It is very good for sore muscles and sprains. It can also be used in a pinch for starting fires as it is highly flammable.

    Reply to this comment
    • Louann November 23, 13:37

      You can also use Listerine for sprains or sore muscles. Rub affected area and wrap with a bread sack, then with an ace bandage. Leave on over night and rinse off.

      Reply to this comment
    • SusieDancer November 26, 05:28

      Horse liniment!! Yes, I remember the day! I suppose one could get it at the farm store. I bought a jar from my Amish neighbors many years ago before I even heard of opiates, tylenol or ibuprofen. Lasted for years. Great stuff. Another thing is DMSO, but one must be careful with it as it must be greatly diluted and cannot be used straight as it comes in the bottle at the farm store. It’s very effective for pain, inflammation, and it heals!

      Reply to this comment
  5. AZDave November 20, 19:39

    Yes, CBD oil. There are two types. (Industrial Hemp) CBD oil is available and legal in ALL 50 states. The other type is only available in states that have made this legal for medical purposes.
    Yes, in SHTF you could grow it, but you’d have to be very far away from mass population or nosy neighbors, and on your highest alert from people raiding your supply, unless you have an enclosed area (like a garage with power).

    I personally take the Industrial hemp CBD daily (legal), and it works well, and has anti-inflammatory properties as well as other healing components. In my case, I do qualify for the other, but have decided against having the card because of the conflict between State and Federal laws, because I’m a disabled vet. Although legal in my state, It’s illegal in the VA system, and I would be “flagged” in the Federal system as a drug user. I take frequent labs at the VA.

    Reply to this comment
    • Toni November 20, 20:08

      Full spectrum? And yes I know about our lovely VA system. They tested me while I was taking it, no issues here either. And if it truly came down to SHTF, we got land so far in the backwoods no one is gonna bother. I have guns for the truly stupid.

      Reply to this comment
      • AZDave November 20, 23:25

        Sounds like you’re set. Same here, they tested me too, no issues here either over the last year. We’ve been moving all my doctors out of the VA with the new choice program. Plus, we’ve got at least a 2 yr. stock of other meds.

        Reply to this comment
    • ERddieW November 21, 02:37

      I tried taking CBD…Killed all pain!! not even opioids do that, but on the third day, it demanded I take 2 pills….I said Goodbye!!

      Reply to this comment
      • Toni November 21, 14:06

        What were you taking?! CBD usually comes in oil form. If you were taking pills, better check what extra crap they put in. Find the best, purest oil you can. Mine has exactly 3 ingredients.

        Reply to this comment
      • SusieDancer November 26, 05:21

        I never heard of CBD in pill form But who cares if your body requires 2? It’s not addictive nor does it have any known negative side effects.

        Reply to this comment
  6. Rebecca November 21, 01:51

    You didn’t mention codeine. It’s available in some form over the counter in painkiller combination pills or in cough syrup. It’s a good pain reliever and a very good cough suppressant. When vaccines are no longer available, old diseases with devastating coughs like diphtheria and whooping cough will return with a vengeance.

    Reply to this comment
    • EddieW November 21, 02:33

      My doctor gave me codeine, and it lasted for two hours, and quit me…I didn’t know what to do, so I went to bed. On a Sunday, I talked to a nurse I knew, and she said, “Take another pill!” I told this to my doc, and he asked, “Did you?” I said no!…A Good thing he replied, that’s a quick way to get addicted!! I requested an opioid, as I can get by with 2 per day, and my doc gave them to me….I’ve been on them over a year, but am not addicted!! Started taking Turmeric with black pepper, and for a while quit the hydroco!! Tried cannibas oil, on the 3rd day, it demanded I take 2 pills…I said goodbye!!

      Reply to this comment
    • Dee November 21, 12:41

      What kind of otc cough meds have codeine. I only have prescriptions with codeine. Thanks

      Reply to this comment
      • TnAndy November 21, 14:34

        None in the US.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck November 21, 18:22

          fifty year ago one could buy Chericol with codeine over the counter. The “War on Drugs” put a stop to that. codeine is now a highly restricted drug that is only available by prescription from a reluctant doctor.

          On a European bicycling trip I developed a cough from breathing the dust from a harvesting operation. I went to a drug store to buy cough drops. The clerk said I would have to talk to the pharmacist. I did. I explained how I developed the cough. He sold me a small box of pills that had codeine in them. The amount of codeine was minuscule, however, the pills worked and my cough was relieved. I did not become a raving drug addict as a result of consuming about fifteen pills with a minuscule amount of codeine in them. I made sure I got rid of them before attempting to return to the U.S, where they would have been seized and I, perhaps, jailed, charged with smuggling drugs into the States.

          Reply to this comment
  7. Wannabe November 22, 02:10

    Stockpile whatever pain killer you have on hand

    Reply to this comment
  8. preppernanna November 23, 17:27

    being allergic to both Ibuprofen and aspirin , the only otc I can safely take is Tylenol. So I depend a lot on pineapple,herbs and essential oils. I have psoriatic arthritis,gout and osteopenia. Therefore I am in pain daily. But with the alternative treatments it is tolerable.

    Reply to this comment
    • EddieW November 23, 21:51

      I accidentally found the best painkiller Turmeric with pepper in it! Was on opioids and went off them, and Turmeric handled it perfectly!! been off opioids for 4 months!!!

      Reply to this comment
  9. SusieDancer November 26, 04:58

    There is so much misinformation in this article. Tylenol causes many deaths every year! It is extremely hepatoxic, especially for children.
    One should grow cannibis for the CBD oil, which is very effective for pain. Also, If I could I would grow poppies and learn to make my own natrual pain killer. Hydrotherapy works wonders on pain and inflammation. An infrared heat lamp soothes inflammation, feels really good and is a great pain reliever. Aspirin is less harmful except for the one in a million children who develop a fatal allergy to it. It’s precurser, white willow bark is harmless and quite effective for mild pain.
    If you’re going to buy stuff to store, why not buy that which will help and not hurt you?

    Reply to this comment
  10. EddieW November 26, 17:16

    Re: It has no known side effects: I had one!! I quit taking CDB pills and waited until the next day to take an oipiod and took it about 8:00 on the morning…About noon the pill didn’t seem to work and I was in pain, took a CBD and 2 hours later my brain started shutting ddown, I wrote a check, and couldn’t read any part of it, it was so scrambled, I tried again, and it was no better, I tried a third time writing really slow and it worked, but not good! Went to type something, but my fingers forgot how. Thought I had a small stroke. My brother came at 2:00 and I showed him the checks and he took me to a doctor, who did some little checks like smile, stick out your tongue and a few molre…You have not had a stroke!, and sent me to the hospital…There for 7 days, and they told me nothing!! except I did not have a stroke or heart attack! 7 days…should have been 3-4!! I got out and we sent shopping, somehow I made him mad, and he told me The doctors said you took something that started shutting down your brain. It has come back a long ways, but still some loss! Hard to type….keep adding letters, and have to go back and fix!!

    Reply to this comment
  11. ravingapache December 12, 01:17

    Jalapenos are a great re-director of pain. one bite into a J pepper and you wont feel your pain any more… except on your tongue! :p

    Reply to this comment
  12. Jill May 4, 18:47

    Do you think these drugs would last longer if you vacuum packed them?

    Reply to this comment
    • Folksinger October 12, 04:35


      but it also depends on the storage environment. For example temperature, sunlight and all other light and of course humidity to name a few. A dark, cool place in the desert would be ideal.

      Vac packing will greatly slow an oxidation process but would still need to be stored in a cool dark place, but not refrigeration cool. An out of the way cabinet should work.

      Reply to this comment
  13. Dave September 24, 20:28

    Typical. This author must be describing a SHTF scenario where a tropical storm hits and you lose power for a few days! LOL

    Any real SHTF scenario means hospitals will be either completely swamped or straight up gone, and pharmacies will be looted and all the good pain killers will already be gone thanks to all the junkies. Ideally you want to stockpile oxy and fentanyl as well as all the OTC stuff. The former for mild pain (broken arm, non-fatal GSW, etc) and the latter in case you have to provide palliative care to someone who got seriously fubar and isn’t going to make it. (i.e. multiple gunshots, crushed by a car, etc) You want to be able to keep them comfortable, and not screaming right up until death (that kind of thing seriously messes with the calm of the rest of the group.) A trip to mexico should be sufficient to stock up- and if not, there are alternatives such as herion and second-hand morphine that can be had in most major cities. Obviously don’t keep the latter lying around your house for some rando to find.

    Also keep a good supply of sutures, scalpels, clamps, paperback field surgery manuals (no electricity), and 2% lidocaine for injection- not the worthless topical stuff that this article mentions. Topical is worthless for any real surgery.

    You can either be prepared- for real, or you can do what all the other sheep do and stockpile worthless OTC kids medications. Then go stand in line when the SH waiting for the police or the national guard to help you. Meanwhile your wife is half dead and your kid died a week ago from an infection because you were too scared or too incompetent to keep a stock of antibiotics/opiates a year ago because some whiny “only doctors should give prescription medication” article warned you against it! Good luck with that!

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