What Are Your Options
If you try acetaminophen for a backache and it doesn’t work as well as you need it to, then stop taking it, says Dr. Katz. “Three to five days is all you need to find out if it will work.”
Also, you don’t necessarily have to choose between acetaminophen and NSAIDs you could try both at the same time. “They are often used in combination, because they don’t appear to have additive side effects, while many people find that they have additive benefits,” Dr. Katz says.
Finally, remember that pain relievers are just one tool available to men with back pain, whether occasional or chronic. Make sure to do all the other things mentioned above to recover from or prevent future flare-ups.
Medicines And Pain Relief For Lower Back Pain
Expert reviewer, Justin HaydeWest, Chief Pharmaceutical Officers Clinical Fellow at Bupa UKNext review due December 2023
Your GP may recommend medicines to help ease your back pain. Pain relief can help ease the symptoms but these medicines wont treat the cause. This is why its really important to keep active and mobile too.
The pain relief your doctor may offer will depend on whats causing your pain, how severe it is and whether a medicine is suitable for you. Most people with acute back pain will recover fairly quickly, within a few weeks.
The information below is an overview of the pain relief medicines your doctor may suggest. If your pain is very severe, is getting worse or is seriously affecting your quality of life, your GP may refer you to a specialist pain service or clinic for more specialist help.
Prevent It In The First Place
Do exercises to strengthen the core muscles supporting your spine, and your abdominal, back, and hip muscles. Avoid any exercise that causes you to stretch your back to the point of discomfort. Bend at the knees when lifting a heavy object, and keep it close to your body with your knees slightly bent as you hold it. Practice good posture: Dont slump when you sit, and use the muscles in your shoulders and abdomen to maintain your spine in a neutral position.
People with back pain sometimes also suffer from depression. Treating the depression can lessen the pain because the same chemical messengers in the brain influence your mood and how you perceive pain. The antidepressant duloxetine is FDA-approved for treating chronic lower back pain. A word of warning: The drug can cause rare but serious side effects, including lowered blood pressure and a risk of liver failure.
Editor’s Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin .
Read Also: How To Relieve Pain Lower Back
Heat And Ice For Back Pain
A hot water bottle or heat pad may help ease muscle spasm and pain. Make sure your skin is protected dont put heat pads directly on your skin. You can buy pads that you put over your clothing on the area that hurts. These are available from pharmacies and last for several hours.
Ice packs may also be helpful, especially in the first few days of any injury. Make sure you wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin. You can apply the pack to the area that hurts for 15 minutes at a time.
Look Into Getting A New Mattress
How old is your bed? You may be surprised to learn that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years. Theres no hard-and-fast rule, says Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, but if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than six to eight years old, Id think about getting a new one.
Something else to consider: A firm mattress may not do your back any favors, says Carmen R. Green, MD, a physician at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses do better than those with firm beds, she says.
Recommended Reading: What To Do For Bad Back Pain
Treat Inflammation At Pinnacle Pain And Spine
At Pinnacle Pain and Spine we treat all types of back pain issues and inflammation is no exception. Meet with our team so that we can give you the proper diagnosis as well as treatment plan to reduce inflammation and treat your back pain. You can be sure that our team will provide you with the most effective way to getting back to living well.
Why Experts Recommend It
Tylenol is a good alternative for those who have any underlying conditions in which a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug would not be appropriate. It is an effective pain reliever with fewer side effects than NSAIDS.
There are also stronger formulations, such as extra-strength Tylenol specifically designed for arthritis relief. The high-dose form has a greater risk of side effects and serious complications.
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Lower Back Pain From Pinched Nerve
Common Nsaids For Back And Neck Pain
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a popular class of medication that can help relieve back and neck pain. There are about 20 types of NSAIDs sold in the United States, but four dominate the market:
The strength of these medications varies. Typically, the prescription version is 2 to 4 times stronger than those sold over the counter. Prescribing doctors often give specific instructions on the medication dosage and schedule based on an individuals situation it is important to follow these directions carefully and not exceed the listed dose.
Pain Relief For Lower Back Pain With Sciatica
Sciatica is when you have pain in your lower back, buttocks and down one or both legs. If you have sciatica and the above treatments havent controlled the pain, your doctor may prescribe a medicine for treating what is called neuropathic pain. This is pain that is thought to be caused by nerve damage or by your nerves becoming more sensitive to pain.
These medicines include amitriptyline, duloxetine, gabapentin and pregabalin. If youre not able to take tablets, your doctor may suggest using a cream called capsaicin instead.
Youll have a follow-up appointment with your doctor to see how well your medicine is working and to talk about any problems or side-effects. It can take a little while to find the dose that works for you.
Don’t Miss: How To Reduce My Back Pain
Finding The Right Treatment
Most cases of lower back pain are comparable to the common cold.
Depending on each patients unique situation and condition, conservative treatments and over-the-counter pain relievers may not address the underlying problem. In these cases, stronger medications or perhaps surgery might be the answer. Our goal is to provide the right treatment for the right condition, for the right patient, at the right time.
Times have changed, and the practice of medicine changes with time. As we learn more about lower back pain and how it works, well continue to refine our treatment recommendations. But our goal remains the same: using evidence-based medicine to give our patients safe, effective relief from back pain.
A Study Of Back Pain And Nsaids
The study wasnt trying to minimize the value of pain relievers when it comes to assisting people who are in pain with mitigating that symptom. However, pain medications do nothing to correct the underlying problem. This means that while these medications may provide some pain relief in the short-term, they are not a long-term solution to the problem.
Another thing to consider is that these drugs have side effects. For example, according to the study, someone on NSAIDs is 2.5 times more likely to have a stomach problem than someone who is not taking this type of medication to deal with back pain.
Read Also: Do Ovarian Cysts Cause Back Pain
Is It Safe To Take Gabapentin And Ibuprofen Together
Ibuprofen is a potent pain-killer used for various muscular aches, including lower back pain, menstrual pain, dental pain, and inflammation caused by arthritis. You can find ibuprofen at your nearby pharmacists or over-the-counter store.
A few studies have indicated that taking gabapentin with an OTC drug is relatively safer. The health practitioners prescribe pain-killer like ibuprofen to suppress pain emitting from allergy or nerves.
However, it is crucial to tell your doctor about a specific brand youre planning to intake. For example, one of the popular combinations of gabapentin and OTC medicine is Advil, made from its generic brand ibuprofen.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Nerve Pain In Foot
The Dangers Of Opioids To Treat Lower Back Pain
We know this change can be frustrating for patients who have been treated with opioids or other strong painkillers in the past. But were here to put our patients well-being first. That means we need to try safer treatment approaches first before we consider potentially dangerous painkillers. If your back pain has gotten to the point where opioid medications are potentially needed, carefully discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
You May Like: Can Chiropractor Help With Lower Back Pain
Is It Safe To Take Ibuprofen For Lower Back Pain
According to researchers, not only do 28% of adults with lower back pain say that it limits what they can accomplish but lower back pain also leads to the risk of serious psychological distress being increased fourfold. As lower back pain problems become more common, the source of the issue is becoming clear.
If over-the-counter painkillers dont seem to help that nagging ache in your back, youre not alone. New research suggests that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen provide little relief for back pain sufferersand have the potential to cause serious side effects, as well.
Back Exercises And Stretches
Simple back exercises and stretches can often help reduce back pain. These can be done at home as often as you need to.
For information about exercises and stretches that can help, see:
A GP may be able to provide information about back exercises if you’re unsure what to try, or you may want to consider seeing a physiotherapist for advice. Read about how to get access to physiotherapy.
You May Like: Can Back Pain Cause Weakness In Legs
Ask About Prescription Medications
If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:
- Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and closely look at your shoulder. You will be asked questions to help the provider understand your shoulder problem.
Blood or imaging tests, such as x-rays or MRI, may be ordered to help diagnose the problem.
Your provider may recommend treatment for shoulder pain, including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Injection of an anti-inflammatory medicine called corticosteroid
- Physical therapy
- Surgery if all other treatments do not work
You May Like: How To Relieve Sciatic Pain In Hip And Leg
Palliative Surgery Or Radiation Therapy
Surgery and radiation therapy can be performed strictly for palliative purposes as well. This means the goal of the surgery is to reduce pain and other symptoms so people with cancer can sustain their quality of life. Surgery may be used to prevent or control pain-causing cancer complications. These include bowel obstruction, compression of the spinal cord or peripheral nerves, and compression of organs. Palliative surgery and radiation are focused on comfort. They are used primarily for people with advanced cancer.
Pain can be divided into different levels.
Non-opioid drugs, such as acetaminophen , may provide some relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen , can as well. Medications like these can help many types of mild to moderate pain. These include muscle pain, bone pain, and the pain caused by some incisions. Non-opioid pain medications may be prescribed in combination with opioids and other therapies for greater pain relief.
Opioids may be combined with non-opioid drugs. For example, acetaminophen or NSAIDs can be used along with opioids to treat moderate pain. Opioids can also be used with other drugs and therapies for severe pain. When other drugs are used, they are called adjuvant analgesics.
A Safer Alternative To Ibuprofen For Back Pain
Back pain is one of the worlds most common health problems in the world today, and it results in most cases of disability globally. It is also the most common cause of disability among younger individuals. For example, in the US, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability for those age 45 and under. A 2006 estimate was that 26 million adult Americans under the age of 65 were experiencing chronic lower back pain.
Lower back pain also leads to other problems for adults. According to researchers, not only do 28% of adults with lower back pain say that it limits what they can accomplish but lower back pain also leads to the risk of serious psychological distress being increased fourfold.
As lower back pain problems become more common, the source of the issue is becoming clear. In many cases, lower back pain is the result of long-term injuries. While a person may occasionally experience trauma that leads to immediate back problems, most people cant even identify the origin of the problem as it happened a long ago.
You May Like: What Causes Upper Left Back Pain Under Shoulder Blade
Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy Causes
As you get older, tendons and ligaments lose strength and take longer to recover. Rotator cuff tendinopathy is more likely to happen in these situations:
- Repeatedly using your arms, especially in movements above your head
- Not giving your rotator cuff muscles enough time to rest after overuse
- Slumping forward
- Having stiffness in your shoulder socket joint from an injury
Having bone spurs that rub up against the tendons of your rotator cuff
Symptom: Mild To Moderate Muscular Back Pain
Best for: Provide long-lasting pain relief for up to 12 hours**From a 600mg dose
How to use: Adults and children from 12 years: Take 1 or 2 tablets up to twice a day. Leave eight hours between doses and do not take more than 4 tablets in 24hrs.
Recommended treatment:Nurofen Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200mg Medicated Plaster
Best for: Continuously targets pain and inflammation at the source for 24 hours
How to use: Adults and adolescents from 16 years: One dose is equal to one medicated plaster. The maximum dose for a single 24-hour period is one medicated plaster.
Recommended treatment:Nurofen Joint & Back Pain Relief Max Strength 10% Gel
Best for: Relieves pain and inflammation at the source with a cooling effect
How to use: Adults, the elderly, and children over 12 years: Squeeze 2 to 5cm of gel from the tube and lightly rub into the affected area until absorbed.
Visit our product pages to see our range of available relief from lower back pain.
Nurofen Pain Relief 256mg tablets. Contains Ibuprofen. For pain relief. Always read the label.Nurofen Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200mg Medicated Plaster. For pain relief of muscular strains or sprains close to the joint of the upper or lower limb. Contains ibuprofen. Always read the label.Nurofen Joint & Back Pain Relief Max Strength 10% Gel. Contains ibuprofen. For pain relief. Always read the label.
You May Like: Can My Bed Cause Lower Back Pain
If You Don’t Feel Better After Four Weeks See A Doctor Because It Could Be Another Condition Like Osteoporosis
Back pain can stem from an injury, such as muscle strain from lifting a heavy object. Or it can be caused by wear and tear on the joints, disks, and ligaments that hold the spine in place. Chronic back pain often arises from disks that have degenerated. That can result in slipped disks that can bulge and press on nerves. Sometimes slipped disks allow the spines bones , which are otherwise normally supported in place by the disks, to slide on top of each other and also irritate nerves. Osteoporosis can cause compression fractures that can also lead to lower back pain. About 80 percent of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point, and it affects more women than men.
Tylenol Effectiveness For Back Pain
Tylenol has historically been used for back pain. However, Tylenol has very limited benefit in patients with back pain. According to one study:
- Tylenoldoes not produce better outcomes than placebo for people with acute low back pain, and it is uncertain if it has any effect on chronic low back pain.
Tylenol is thus no longer recommended as a first-line treatment for low back pain. It may be worth a try if you cannot take ibuprofen or naproxen due to medical reasons. The dose you can try is this:
- Under 65 years old: Acetaminophen 650 mg orally every six hours as needed
- Over 65 years old: Acetaminophen 500mg orally every six hours as needed
Recommended Reading: What To Do For Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy