Non-prescription pain relievers are a bit like cola in that they're often referred to by one name, and where I live people usually ask for either aspirin or Tylenol even if they want Bayer, Aleve or Advil.
Others have reported a similar lack of brand name usage, with aspirin being the most universally used name for pain relievers, but is there really much of a difference between the brands?
Turns out there really is quite a difference- Tylenol is acetaminophen, which is best for headaches and not so good for joint pain.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can help with light pain but also helps lower the risk of heart attack and stroke when a small dose is taken every day. It's also murder on your guts, liver and kidneys.
For heavy pain you want either Advil, Motrin or Aleve- Advil and Motrin are ibuprofen, which is good for hangovers, menstrual cramps, earaches, toothaches and sore or injured muscles but not so good for a headache.
Aleve is naproxen, which takes a while to kick in but works great for people with moderate to severe chronic pain, such as a lasting headache or pain associated with arthritis.