Medication is often the first line of defense in the treatment of back pain. Most spine specialists will advise a combination of both over-the-counter and prescription medications to reduce inflammation and control pain.
Medication is typically administered orally (as a liquid or pill) or as a topical ointment. Some treatments, such as corticosteroids, are injected directly into the spine.
- Medication is the most common treatment for back pain
- Over-the-counter pain medications most often used to address back pain are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Advil)
- Because acetaminophen and NSAID’s work differently to address the pain, they may be taken at the same time
- 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
- Always consult your spine specialist prior to taking any medication to make sure you are aware of any risks, side effects and drug interactions
- You should be especially cautious with medications if you are taking other medications, or have any significant medical conditions (such as diabetes)
- You should always read the label and package inserts for a complete understanding of risks, side effects, and drug interactions
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