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What Medications Are Good For Back Pain

When It Comes To Back Pain Medications You Have Optionsa Lot Of Them How Do You Know Which One Is Right For You

How To Understand Back Pain Medications

Back painand the medications that treat itis almost as varied as the people who have it. For some people, the pain is minor and over-the-counter treatments work just fine. For others, managing pain requires more than OTC medications can provide. So what do you do? You call the pros. Working with your doctor or medical professionals who specialize in pain management can help you find the right meds.

What’s the best medication for your back pain?

Video: Back Pain Treatment Options

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . You will see more improvement of your symptoms after 1 week of taking NSAIDS than taking nothing. Motrin/Advil or Aleve , all available without a prescription, are all good options for you. Ibuprofen can be taken 400 600 mg at a time, 4 times a day, and naproxen can be taken 220 mg twice daily for improvement of back pain. In studies, NSAIDS provide more relief of back pain than Tylenol . Try it as a first line choice.

  • Acetaminophen at higher doses, 1000 mg taken 4 times a day, does help modestly with back pain. Tylenol is better tolerated than NSAIDS, causing less stomach discomfort. This is your second choice after NSAIDS for the treatment of acute back pain. The usual warning here is not to take it for longer than 10 days at those doses.

  • What about both together? Studies suggests that there is little, if any, benefit of adding NSAID therapy to high-dose acetaminophen.

  • What about herbal options? Herbal non-steroidals may be effective. Willow bark extract works as an anti-inflammatory and may help for back pain. The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is similar to aspirin. In one study, the relief provided by willow bark was equivalent to the prescription COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib .

  • What worked for you?

    Dr O.

    What Is Back Pain

    Back pain can be a symptom of many different illnesses and conditions. The main cause of the pain can be a problem with the back itself or by a problem in another part of the body. In many cases, doctors can’t find a cause for the pain. When a cause is found, common explanations include:

    • Stress or injury involving the back muscles, including back sprain or strain chronic overload of back muscles caused by obesity and short term overload of back muscles caused by any unusual stress, such as lifting or pregnancy
    • Disease or injury involving the back bones , including fracture from an accident or as a result of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis
    • Degenerative arthritis, a “wear and tear” process that may be related to age, injury and genetic predisposition.
    • Disease or injury involving the spinal nerves, including nerve injury caused by a protruding disk or spinal stenosis
    • Kidney stones or a kidney infection
    • Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions
    • A spinal tumor or a cancer that has spread to the spine from elsewhere in the body
    • Infection, which may be in the disk space, bone , abdomen, pelvis or bloodstream
    • Rarer causes include:

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    Your Chronic Pain Treatment Plan

    The most important thing to remember when taking medications to treat your chronic pain is that you need to be an active participant in your own treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask questionsyou have to be your own advocate.

    Over time, you may need to increase or decrease your dose of medication or perhaps change medications, so it’s essential that you carefully follow your doctor’s directions. Also, be on the lookout for side effects. If you notice any new symptoms, tell your doctor immediately. But don’t stop taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to do so.

    Before Taking This Medicine


    You should not use Cataflam if you are allergic to diclofenac, or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.

    Diclofenac can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, even if you don’t have any risk factors. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery .

    To make sure Cataflam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

    • liver or kidney disease or

    • if you smoke.

    Taking diclofenac during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

    It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

    Cataflam is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

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    Taking Elavil For Chronic Back Pain

    Elavil is a medication with several uses. It has long been used for the treatment of depression but is sometimes given as an adjuvant pain medication to people with chronic back pain. A tricyclic antidepressant, amitryptyline is very effective for pain, but it does come with some side effects and drug interactions.

    Back In Action: Updated Treatment Recommendations For Lower Back Pain

    That dull ache when you go for your morning jog. A sharp pain when you lift a heavy box. For some people, back pain is just an annoyance that comes and goes. For others, it can be a devastating hindrance to everyday life.

    Back pain affects 80 percent of people at some point in their lifetime. Each year, lower back pain causes about 149 million lost days of work in the U.S. and costs $100 billion to $200 billion mostly in lost wages and productivity.As The New York Times reported in February 2017, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society have released updated back pain treatment guidelines that are similar to the evidence-based approaches weve used at UT Southwestern for many years. Many people expect their pain to be treated with a doctors visit and a prescription for medication. But we know thats not how back pain works. And with an opioid epidemic ragingin America, prescribing medication as a first-line treatment for back pain is not the safest approach for patients.

    Lower back pain often can be resolved by staying active without pain medication. But there are times when thats not enough. Lets discuss when you might need to visit the doctor and when back pain is manageable at home.

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    How Should I Take Voltaren

    Take Voltaren exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition.

    Different brands of diclofenac contain different amounts of diclofenac, and may have different uses. If you switch brands, your dose needs may change. Follow your doctor’s instructions about how much medicine to take. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the brand of diclofenac you receive at the pharmacy.

    Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

    If you use Voltaren long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.

    Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

    Medicines And Pain Relief For Lower Back Pain

    Stanford’s Ming-Chih Kao, PhD, MD, on “Medications: What’s Good for Back Pain and How to Stay Safe”

    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.

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    Precautions When Taking Nsaids

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase the chance of serious gastrointestinal complications such as ulcers, bleeding, inflammation, and perforations. People who take NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen, may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke than people who do not take these medications. People with kidney disease, or those who have had coronary artery bypass graft surgery, should not take NSAIDS.

    About Chronic Back Pain

    Most lower back pain is short-term or acute, lasting for several days to several weeks. But, it often resolves on its own with no residual function loss. Most acute back pain is mechanical, which means theres a disturbance in how the backs components muscle, spine, nerves and intervertebral discs fit together and move.

    Chronic back pain, on the other hand, persists for over 12 weeks even if doctors treat an underlying cause or injury. Around 20 percent of individuals with lower back pain end up developing chronic low back pain with symptoms that persist for at least one year.

    If youve been suffering from chronic back pain, its important you visit us at the OIP to receive a diagnosis for your condition and start treatment to experience pain relief.

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    What Can I Do To Relieve My Lower Back Pain

    There are many options for relieving lower back pain depending on the cause, severity, and duration of the pain. For some patients medications or treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and epidural steroid injections can help. Others see specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, or pain management physicians. Each patients needs are different. A great first step is seeing your primary care provider.

    Medication For Back Pain In Adults

    Which over the counter pain medication is best for me

    Our doctors usually prescribe medication as the first option for treating back pain. Though it doesnt address the cause of the pain, medication can temporarily ease discomfort so that you can start a physical therapy or exercise program, which can relieve pain in the long term.

    NYU Langone doctors assess the type of medication you need based on your diagnosis and description of pain.

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    Other Types Of Diagnosis

    • A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
    • An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
    • A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.

    What Are The Best Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain

    Depending on the severity and cause, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your lower back pain at home. Many of these remedies are short-term solutions, but can help you avoid medications while you wait for your next doctors appointment. After consulting a healthcare professional, you may be able to rely on these solutions entirely for minor pain.

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    Make The Right Choice

    When you have aches and pains, you probably have lots of choices in your medicine cabinet. But all pain relievers arent created equal. Some work better for headaches or back pain, while others are stronger when it comes to fever or arthritis. Dont just reach for the closest medication. Heres the best over-the-counter pain reliever for every kind of ache.

    When You May Need Medicine

    Why lower back pain is good for you, better than back pain treatment:

    If non-drug interventions dont help, the ACP recommends first trying non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin or meloxicam. While NSAIDs provide some pain relief, they may put you at risk for GI bleeding or kidney damage.

    As second-line drugs, the ACP recommends duloxetine or tramadol .

    Due to their serious side effects and addictive nature, opioid medications should be used only as a last resort when patients fail all other therapies, the ACP advises. The rule of thumb: Use the lowest possible dose of opioid for the least amount of time.

    If youve been suffering with long-term low back pain, its worth exploring these non-drug treatment options before resorting to pills. Youre likely to find your quality of life improving.

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    The Best Otc Pain Reliever For: Headache

    Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, that works to reduce inflammation. If you have a headache, ibuprofen is an effective treatment option, although if you are pregnant or prone to ulcers, you may want to choose another pain reliever. A 2017 study published in the journal Australian Prescriber suggests that people with a history of peptic ulcer disease, increasing age, and high-dose and long-term use of NSAIDs are at the highest risk of major gastrointestinal toxicity. Instead, take acetaminophen, which does not reduce inflammation, but sends a message to pain receptors.

    When Do You Need A Doctor For Back Pain

    if you have any of the following symptoms along with your back pain, see a doctor immediately:

    • Numbness in an arm or leg
    • Trouble with bowel or bladder control
    • Weakness in an arm or leg

    When the team assesses patients with severe back pain, we often recommend physical therapy and pain medication then we dont see the patients again because their back pain got better on its own. Staying or getting active with guidance from your doctor can provide ample relief for severe back pain.

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    The Best Medication For Chronic Low Back Pain

    by Health Professional

    Medications are the most frequently recommended treatment for low back pain. Research has shown that 80% of primary care patients with low back pain were prescribed at least one medication when seen by the primary care provider more than one third were prescribed two or more medications.

    The most commonly prescribed drugs for low back pain are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and naproxen, muscle relaxants, and opioid-based pain killers. Other medications regularly prescribed for chronic low back pain include benzodiazepines such as Valium, cortisone-type drugs, anti-depressant medications and anti-seizure medications. Of course, many patients use over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, aspirin, and NSAIDs such as Advil.

    A challenge to many health care providers involves the choosing of the safest and most effective medication for a given patient. A more disturbing thought involves the possibility that many of the medications physicians prescribe may have little benefit. Thanks to a recent review by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians, published in the October 02, 2007 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, there is a little more statistical certainty behind the decision to treat with a particular medication.

    It will still be the case in many cases that the “best” treatment is the one that works.

    Pain Relief For Lower Back Pain With Sciatica

    Back pain medications may be doing more harm than good ...

    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.

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    What Are Common Side Effects Of Lower Back Pain Medication

    Since lower back pain sufferers are looking for pain relief, the medications used to treat this condition will generally have the same or similar side effects. While these side effects tend to be similar they are not always the same for everyone and their severity will vary. This is not a complete list and you should always consult your doctor regarding your potential risks when starting a new medication. Potential side effects of lower back pain medication can include:

    • Drowsiness
    • Headache

    What Is The Best Medication For Lower Back Pain

    Best medications for lower back pain
    Drug name
    50 mg taken as needed every 4 to 6 hours Sleepiness, uncontrollable shaking, and mood swings

    Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.

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    Related Resources For Lower Back Pain

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    This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.


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