Excluding acetaminophen, NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen and Aleve are the strongest OTC medications for pain and inflammation relief, according to MedlinePlus and WebMD. Some types of pain respond better to one medication than another. What works for one person and is considered strong, may not work for another person.
NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly used for headaches, back pain and joint pain, states WebMD. NSAIDs should be taken on a short-term basis, no more than 10 days, according to MedlinePlus. People who suffer from chronic pain or take OTC pain relieving medications regularly should speak with their doctor. Serious side effects can occur and a different type of medication may be needed.