The current medical management of common neck and back problems usually begins with a prescription for medications to combat inflammation, decrease pain, and, if necessary, reduce muscle spasm.
While the use of medication is sometimes necessary, their long term use has not been shown to be effective, not to mention the various side effects associated with their use.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the various classes of medication used to treat sciatica and back pain.
Types of Mediation Used To Treat Back Pain
Web-MD does a good job of classifying the various forms of medications used to treat back pain.
Medicine can decrease low back pain and reduce muscle spasms in some people. But medicine alone is not an effective treatment for low back pain. It should be used along with other treatments, such as exercise and physical therapy.
There are several medicines your doctor may recommend, depending on how long you have had pain, what other symptoms you have, and your medical history. The medicines recommended most often are:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Muscle relaxants
Medications For Back Pain and Neck Pain
Spine Health does a comprehensive review of the various over the counter and prescriptive medications to treat back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.
Nonprescription Pain Medications
While there are many over-the-counter pain medications used to address back pain, the two most common types are acetaminophen (for example, brand name Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (for example, brand name Advil). Because acetaminophen and NSAID’s work differently to address the pain, they may be taken at the same time. For example, a patient in severe pain may take the recommended dose of acetaminophen, and then two to three hours later take the recommended dose of ibuprofen, and repeat this pattern as appropriate.
Prescription Pain Medications
For short periods of time, prescription medications (such as narcotic pain medications or muscle relaxants) may be helpful to alleviate pain or related complications. Other classes of drugs (such as antidepressants or anti-seizure medications) can also help modulate the sensation of pain and can be taken on a prolonged basis.
There are risks, side effects and drug interactions with any medication, so a medical professional should always be consulted prior to taking medications. Patients should be especially cautious with medications if they are on other medications or have any significant medical conditions (e.g. diabetes).
While a few major risks and side effects are outlined for some medications on this site, patients should always read the label and package inserts and consult with a physician for a complete understanding of risks, side effects, and drug interactions.
This article provides a thorough overview of the most common prescription and nonprescription medications used to relieve back pain and neck pain. (Read the full article)
Back Pain Medications Video
Dr. Andrew Cole, a Physiatrist with Northwest Spine & Sports Physicians, discusses medications used to treat back pain.
Dr. Andrew Cole explains how to correctly use anti-inflammatory medications for back pain relief and to help alleviate inflammation. He also explains the difference between prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and talks about the precautions one should take before using this type of medication. (Watch the video)
Do you have additional questions about medications to resolve your back pain, neck pain, or sciatica? We have specific Patient Guides that discuss specific pain management techniques in detail, including the use of medications for the treatment of back pain. If you would like access to these informative and easy to understand Patient Guides, just click this link and we’ll make sure you get your copy today. Patients’ Guide To Back Pain Medications
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