Got a headache? Backache? Neck ache?
A trip to your pharmacy or supermarket reveals there are specific painkillers for all sorts of pains: back pain, tension headache pain, migraine pain, period pain, osteoarthritis pain, neck pain, little toe pain …
Panadol has a few pain-specific products, but Nurofen has more, with a range of caplets for migraine, back, tension headache and period pain.
Yet a closer look at the ingredients shows they're identical from product to product.
So does the back pain version somehow magically go straight to your back – and only your back – as soon as you've swallowed it?
Could you, say, choose to treat only your back pain while keeping your headache? If you want to treat both, do you need to take a dose of each?
The answers are no, no and definitely no.
When you take these painkillers, the active ingredient spreads through your whole body, attacking whatever pain it comes across, wherever it is.
Filling up your medicine cabinet with different painkillers for every type of pain is unnecessary, not to mention wasteful, should they expire before you've used them all.
But the shonkiest aspect of this type of marketing is that the fast-acting painkillers labelled for specific pain types are more expensive – costing almost twice as much in some stores we surveyed – than their "all pain" fast-acting equivalent, Zavance caplets, which contains a comparable fast-acting form of ibuprofen.